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Escapist Candles With a Story to Tell

The first home fragrance release from Ginori 1735—a collaboration with Italian designer Luca Nichetto—finds its origins in the royal life of Catherine de Medici.

By Rachel Gallaher

A group of Ginori 1735 candles designed by Luca Nichetto. The candles are a series of white porcelain faces and busts.

Pieces from the La Compagnia Di Caterina (LCDC) collection, designed by Luca Nichetto for Ginori 1735.

Revealed during Milan Design Week, the first-ever home fragrance capsule from porcelain brand Ginori 1735 might just be the sexiest collection of candles ever released. A collaboration between the heritage homewares company and Italian designer Luca Nichetto—known for imaginative, multidisciplinary work—La Compagnia Di Caterina (LCDC) blurs the lines between home fragrance and art with a range of pieces from cheeky jar candles and incense holders to ornate sculptural forms that showcase the centuries of craftsmanship honed at Ginori 1735’s Tuscany headquarters.

According to Nichetto, the figures in the LCDC collection come from the entourage that accompanied the young Catherine de Medici on her 1533 journey from Florence to Paris to be married to the Duke of Orléans, Henry II (the future King of France). Included among the lively and colorful group was her own master perfumer Renato Bianco, who was a visionary in the techniques of distilling herbs and spices to create oils and scents for the future royal.

A porcelain torso with a light green toga. The head is a gold candle holder with a green candle.

The Lover from the LCDC collection.

“I drew my inspiration from Lucha Libre masks, illustrations by Jean-Paul Goude and graffiti art,” Nichetto says of the final pieces. “Throughout the design process, the characters’ statuesque faces become the collections’ archetypal protagonists. LCDC’s design blends the classicism of ancestral statues with rigorous lines, and the sculptured faces take on a mysterious and singular dimension. The mix of graphic symbols creates a fusion of senses and colors which evoke the ingredients used to create the fragrances.”

The collection includes eight characters—L’Amazzone (The Amazon), L’Amante (The Lover), Il Letterato (The Scholar), Il Seguace (The Companion), Il Favorito (The Favourite), Il Frate (The Friar), La Dama ( The Lady), L’Addetto al Fuoco (The Fire-Master)—each with their own backstory, aesthetic, and format for distributing scent (incense, candle, diffuser sticks). A mix of mystery, romance, and playfulness infuses the collection with depth and intrigue. Three unique scents (Orange Renaissance, Purple Hill, and Black Stone) were developed for the LCDC collection by Jean Niel, the oldest perfume house in France (founded in 1779).

A grouping of sticks, bark shavings and black  branches. A black candle burns in front of the grouping.

Black Stone is one of the three fragrances created for the launch. Inspired by the black stone talisman given to Catherine de Medici by an astrologer in her court, the scent evokes the spices used by alchemists of the time.

“[We’re] moving Ginori 1735 forward by offering a first complete collection of home fragrances for the brand, as well as an ‘afterlife’ to all the LCDC characters,” Nichetto says. “Refills are available for each individual item, to be added once the first scent has run out. Refills are also a first at Ginori 1735, and the LCDC characters can be combined with any of the fragrances, continuously starting over to enjoy a new life.”

As for the designer’s favorite character from the collection?

“Each and every one of them!” he says. “They all reflect a certain aspect of my own personality, and a part of my own personal history, as well as the fragrances which represent a sensory journey, between places and traditions that link Venice, Florence and Paris—each of them cities that are closely connected to Ginori 1735, as well as myself.”

A gray porcelain head-shaped fragrance diffuser on a white block with a large stone horse head in the background.

The Amazon diffuser, part of the LCDC collection from Ginori 1735.


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