Snapshot #10, Gauri Garodia, CODE DECO
Gauri Garodia was recently visiting NYC, and even though we kept missing each other she agreed to an email exchange. Enjoy!
“I love to incorporate Japanese minimalism and transparency in my fragrances. Here are some images which capture the mood of tranquility which we hope to evoke through the white oudh” Gauri Garodia
(VV) Where did you grow-up? Is there an olfactive memory from that time and place that you can share with us?
(GG) I grew up in India. My most enduring olfactive memory of is that of changing seasons. Summer in the Northern plains is hot, harsh and very dry. Ironically though, my olfactive memories seem quite contrary: luscious sweet juicy notes of mango and musk melons, the moist-cool-earthy aroma of vetiver blinds that are used as a foil against the glare and heat. I love this heightened contrast between the external and the internal environments.
Come monsoon it pours, and the smell of the parched earth and first rain is something else. Olfactively extremely complex, dry-earthy-smoky with hints of cool-marine-aromatic-herbaceous notes, it’s a ‘terroir’ note unlike any other.
(VV) What city are you currently living in? What olfactive associations do you have with this place?
(GG) I live in Singapore and to me Singapore smells of tropical thunderstorms, Frangipani and pandan leaves. A single ride in a Singapore taxi is all it takes to understand pandan!! (These are leaves of the screwpine, frequently used to freshen living spaces as well as to flavor rice. It’s a pleasant hay-jasmine rice like note.)
(VV) Can you share any daily rituals and why they are important to you?
I cannot work without music in the background. It helps me stay focused and keeps me motivated while battling creative blocks.
(VV) How did you come to perfumery?
(GG) Quite by accident, I am an MBA by training and my first job assignment at Unilever was in the perfumery divison. It wasn’t long before I jumped ship: from business to creative. It’s been 18 years of designing product sensorials and I have loved it all.
(VV) What raw materials are on your mind at the moment, and why?
(GG) Frankincense, oudh and sandal. I want to create an extremely pared down herbaceous oudh devoid of any overt animalic notes. It must evoke a sense of calm serenity, of having arrived.
(VV) Can you describe the meaning of the brand name Code Deco?
(GG) The two words are anagrams. See attached logo. I love the Art Deco period, and how it represents the convergence of man and machine. I was quite hung up on using the word ‘deco’ and yet on it’s own it felt incomplete. Perfumes are coded: the formulae are always a secret and the prefix ‘Code’ just felt perfect. The name Code Deco feels modern, more active, engaged and interconnected with the world at large.
(VV) I know you were recently in New York City, when you travel, is there anything you can’t leave home without?
(GG) My little bag of perfume samples and smelling strips, and all the digital devices that are essential to modern living: laptop, handphone and an ipad.
(VV) How does being a perfumer influence your daily life?
(GG) I am definitely very curious about the world at large. Love to travel and meet new people, have experiences, olfactory and otherwise. Somewhat moody when things get stuck. On a more mundane level I avoid people with colds!!
(VV) If you could make a fragrance for someone famous living or dead who would it be and why? What notes would you reach for?
(GG) Amelia Earhart. It would be something adventurous and outdoorsy. The smell of wildflowers, hedges, foliage, blue skies, metal, khaki and thunderstorms.
(VV) What is your favorite flower?
(GG) Tough One. They keep changing. For now it’s the coral jasmine.