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Airl: NASA-powered fragrance

Aair: Inside Story

Aeir co-founders Enrico Pietra and Rodrigo Caula met while studying at the École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL), a difficult place to get into a “high-end university” in Switzerland. While there, they worked directly with masters from various Maisons, gaining insight into generations-old traditional crafts—the “code of luxury,” Cowra says. From Hermès saddle makers to Ruinart champagne producers to Italian Murano glass experts.

After graduating, the Canadian-born Caula joined Tesla, running its sustainability and biomaterials strategy, and later joined Yeezy as Director of Innovation and Sustainability. Italian-born Pietra remained in Lausanne, joining the university faculty and working with brands such as Chopard and Hermès.

Enrico Pietra and Rodrigo Caula, co-founders of Aeir. Image Credit: Courtesy of Aeir

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Pietra and Cowra, like many, were forced to take some time to reflect. I thought, “What do we want to do with the rest of our lives?” Cowra says. They started developing their first product, his Aeir. “It was important to find something that made you feel good, not just the scent,” he says.

Zero Extraction Fragrances: What and Why

For the pair, feeling good meant creating fragrances with the lowest possible carbon footprint and gender inclusiveness. To do that, they used CO2-sequestering ethanol (a completely new and innovative process), fully recyclable packaging, and went completely plastic-free as a company.

Unlike traditional fragrances that rely on natural ingredients to create scents, Aeir is made entirely in a laboratory, “protecting the environment from intensive farming and extraction processes,” they say. .

“I think the closest analogy is palo santo. To get palo santo, you have to extract the wood from a fully mature tree that is probably 70 years old,” Pietra explained. increase. “It is only at this age that the tree matures enough to produce an oil that gives it an aroma profile. I wanted to see if the profile could be realized.

Olfactory memory for the future

They hired a biochemist with access to a library of notes to oversee the formula in which ethanol was mixed (rather than heavy water like ‘Ode’ Parfum, which is heavy to transport). Their briefs to perfumers? “Imagine landing on Mars and he being one of the 120 chosen to build a new civilization,” says Cowra.

Fragrance and refillable aluminum case. Image Credit: Courtesy of Aeir

“Your first memory will be at home,” he adds, referring to a thought that occurred to him while sitting in the captain’s seat of a fixed SpaceX spacecraft while working at Tesla. “Ocean, desert, breeze, your new sheets.” Grand Rose (cotton and pink pepper blossom); suede (leather, bergamot, velvet plum) and virgin olive (oak, terracotta, sweet cannabis).

conscious packaging

No inks, dyes or adhesives, the all-white packaging (developed in Italy, made in the USA) is embossed with information. By using only the pure fragrance without dilution, the container can be kept small and shipping costs can be reduced. The refillable aluminum cases (his smaller Aeir Mini and larger but travel-friendly size) are anodized for longevity.

Aluminum case. Image credit: cthanks to Airl

This “more silver than silver” coating is achieved by a process originally developed by NASA to protect parts in space. This process, known as PVD (photo-deposition), injects metal into a vacuum and bonds it molecularly to the surface. Besides creating a highly sophisticated aesthetic, this lean process also eliminates the risk of microplastics.

NFC or Near Field Communication technology embedded in beautiful thick paper pops up a tab on your mobile phone and takes you to to ‘unlock’ your product, receive Aeir emails, or subscribe to a yearly subscription. Or you can do a singular update. Purchased from AirWallet. “It’s designed for a new type of consumer,” he says Peitra.

future air

“In the future, we hope to create an ecosystem of products that share the same ethos, with near-zero extraction in as many categories as possible, recycled materials, bio-engineered materials, bio-engineered materials, and even clothing. We can design the fiber,” says Caula.

Pietra said, “For us, it is very important to think about inspiring a happy future, for things to be positive. There is no dystopian future. We as designers have a responsibility to protect and design. Design is about solving problems, not creating more.§