Launched in 2018, young niche brand Pigmentarium has made a name for itself in its home market, where it has become a benchmark. Already considered the leading local perfume brand in the Czech Republic, it is now exported to 14 countries. On October 12th, founder and Artistic Director Tomas Ric presented the new Oratario fragrance designed by Symrise perfumer-creator Théo Belmas, at the Appartement Étoile, in Paris. Premium Beauty News met the two creators to take stock of this unique brand.
The name of the brand, Pigmentarium, refers to the world of painting and to the Latin inscriptions that dot the façades of Prague’s main buildings, and the brand’s concept involves capturing the richness of the city in a fragrance. “Each fragrance is related to an artist or a cultural discovery. Pigmentarium does not see itself as a perfume brand, because it is focused on the art of living; it is a platform that also connects Czech artists and craftspeople to highlight the treasures of Prague. Through our collaborations, we also play a curatorial role with regard to young artists”, explains Tomas Ric, the founder. “Our path is related to human encounters and artistic affinities.”
Pigmentarium is actually stepping up its collaborations with young international artists: poet Michaela Fenkl, sculptor Pauline Hagant, or fashion designer Arturo Obegero, all of whom have become ambassadors for the brand.
Relationships with fashion
The young perfume company has built itself a visual universe that is easily identifiable and influenced by the fashion world, which is where the artistic director comes from. This is conveyed by the aesthetics of the campaigns associated with the fragrances. Imagery is one of the pillars on which Pigmentarium’s communication is based.
“During the Covid pandemic, the work we did on imagery opened new doors for us, by generating interest before even smelling the perfumes,” says Tomas Ric. His stint in fashion also enabled him to unveil the limited edition of the Azabache perfume at the Paris Fashion Week, in 2021, reaching new targets. “Right from the start, we were supported by major global magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle… And also by Ingredients, the leading niche perfume store in Prague : they believed in us from our very first fragrance”, he explains.
A controlled growth
Right now, the bottles are available in niche perfume stores in Prague, alongside French and global high-end perfume names. It has been a great journey for the founder, who says he initially invested his own money in the creation of the first opus, Ad Libitum. He collaborated with Czech independent perfumer Jakub F. Hiermann (co-founder who recently left the company), who created the series of the brand’s first six perfumes. “At first, we developed these fragrances at a fast pace to be able to build up a portfolio. Now, we are following a different tempo with one launch a year”, says Tomas Ric. “The company doubles its turnover every year and our workforce has grown from three to seven employees. Also, I recently turned down several investment offers. We want to control our growth and keep our independence and initial state of mind, which is conveyed by the name of our first fragrance Ad Libitum”, he emphasizes.
Right now, the Pigmentarium brand is present in 14 countries and 40 points of sale, in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, of course, but also across Europe. It is distributed by the Burmunk chain in the Armenian capital and has begun to conquer the Far East, starting with Uzbekistan. In Paris, it is available at Nose and Elevator. Tomas Ric explains that “For each fragrance launch, we make a point of organizing a presentation in Paris, because this capital is essential for international recognition. We are supported by the Czech Embassy and Cultural Centre.”
Pigmentarium also boasts a dedicated table at the Prague International Airport, which provides visibility alongside new local brands emblematic of the Czech art of living and creativity (fashion, design, fire arts, etc.). But the company aims to go global. “We have just signed an agreement with distributors based in Dubai”, Tomas reveals. “Pigmentarium’s olfactory style is in line with the tastes of the Gulf countries,” confirms Théo Belmas, perfumer-creator at Symrise.
Launch of Oratorio
“This new fragrance marks a transition. It is part of a new dynamic,” says Tomas Ric, who chose to partner with French perfumer-creator Théo Belmas for his seventh fragrance, Oratorio. Invited to take an outside look at the city of Prague, Théo Belmas suggested immortalizing a poetic moment experienced during the visit of a magnificent Baroque church: the vision of a cloud of incense pierced by a ray of light.
The fragrance takes shape around dualities: light and shadow, spiritual contemplation and urban effervescence. Théo Belmas delivers an original incense/pressed mandarin chord which crystallizes these sensations by reconciling contrasts. “It is a simple, but very structured formula. A material-oriented fragrance I reworked until it really conveyed a story: that of an almost mystical vision mixed with the city’s energy. The incense is concentrated at 10%, so it fully expresses its richness and complex facets in three oil forms: essential, pyrogenic, and resinoid. The hand-pressed mandarin extract brings out light and joy.” This structure is articulated with Egyptian neroli, both honeyed and animal-like, and with cedarwood from the Atlas mountains and Virginia. The base notes are opoponax and patchouli, with balsamic accents.
The Oratorio fragrance reflects the symbiosis of two complementary creative energies. It also marks the strategic rapprochement between the Prague-based brand and Paris.