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Paris-Tokyo Lanterns by José Levy for Diptyque

 

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For the first Diptyque’s shop in Tokyo, José Lévy designed two unusual lanterns, a limited edition to seal the relationship between Paris and Tokyo. As artist in residence at the Villa Kujoyama, the French Institute in Kyoto, in 2011, José Levy worked with Japanese artisans to understand their relationship to light, producing an installation of a bed of 50 diptyque candles, for the city’s first night-time festival. On his return to Paris, to celebrate the opening of diptyque Tokyo, he designed two lanterns which house two candles entitled Tokyo and Paris, inspired by the gardens in the heart of these two cities. The first disregards the order of the seasons.

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Cherry and plum blossom answer each other, blended with a light, natural, floral fragrance of rose and blackcurrant leaves, and softened by an accord of Azuki, evoking the delicate sophistication of a Japanese dessert. The second candle is like a stroll in the gardens of the Champs-Élysées when the first scents of Spring have arrived. Its slightly woody accord of white flowers, lime tree and lily of the valley is blended with cedar and cinnamon leaves, to which violet leaves add an impertinent “French touch”!

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The brand has been present in Japan for over ten years. “Here in Tokyo, in the Aoyama district, an area whose alternative-style luxury and eclectic nature reflects the brand’s values, diptyque will present its unique way of life, in its first Japanese store,” says Fabienne Mauny, diptyque’s Executive Director.The spirit of 34 Boulevard Saint Germain, Paris, will pervade the new store, although its form has been reinvented. It is a small two-storey building, with two windows, of course. As you cross the Japanese garden, a tribute to the ancestral culture, you enter a world dedicated to the senses, an Aladdin’s cave of diptyque’s collections…

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Stone, wood, tatami, brass and warm colours give the space a friendly, intimate atmosphere. The display furniture blends plain wood with flamboyant shades and bright essences. A sculpted tree trunk made from 550 candles, both large and small, establishes the essence of the store, as a shrine to fragrance… On the right, there is a wall dedicated to fragrance where, to select a candle, you gently remove it and place it on a cushion, and inhale the inside of the glass, which is infused with Rose, Hazelnut, Tuberose or Cypress… one of the diptyque rituals which makes choosing such a pleasure! Several cubes covered in diptyque designed fabrics, in unusual colour blends, form the backdrop to the iconic 34 Boulevard Saint Germain range… the true spirit of the Boulevard Saint Germain store, its history encapsulated in the Eaux de toilette and precious waxes.

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At the back of the store, the perfumes are displayed higgledy-piggledy on the wall, explaining the story and the roots of the brand in a few souvenirs; another wall, encircled by a brass frame, is entirely composed of boxes covered in sheets of silk paper, the chromatic arrangement creating a striking tableau. Another ritual is on show here, seen only in the stores: three sheets of silk paper, their colours matching the scents, are interwoven in delicate folds around each box. You cannot help but compare this gift packaging to the art of Japanese folding. The perfumes, Floral waters and Eaux de toilette have their own ceremonies, so that their scents can be appreciated and tested on the skin.Finally, on the left, there is a wall made from raku, a plain and precious ceramic material that was invented by a 16th century potter for a Japanese tea ceremony master. Although plain in appearance, its expertise is precious, as each piece is unique. diptyque’s L’Art du Soin skincare line is displayed on this ceramic wall, around a spectacular piece of art designed by David Derksen: an interpenetration of mirror discs in shades from silver to gold – the moon to the sun. They retrace the different oxidation phases of this mysterious, reflective material.

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A brass frieze in the Paladin motif (1961-62) and curtains in the Basile print (1963) complete the portrait of this scene which, according to diptyque’s COO Sophie Lambert, embodies the brand’s presence in Japan, and “will offer Japanese customers a unique experience”.

www.joselevy.fr

www.diptyqueparis.fr