We're so excited to welcome Lola James Harper to Sunroom — a line of Parisian candles and fragrances founded by creative director Rami Mekdachi. Each scent in their beautiful line is inspired by the specificity of meaningful places — a reminder of the power of fragrance to immediately transport us around the world, from beautiful French gardens in bloom to the back shelves of dusty record shops to watching the sunset on a salty beach. To learn more about the connection between place and the senses, we asked Rami to answer our Sunroom Q+A!
How do you translate a felt experience or a concept, or a memory into a scent? Can you share your process?
Scents are real, they are tangible, they have colors and shapes, like music. Any experience can be related to a music or a scent. The more you smell and listen, the more you link all your senses together. We can use our nose and ears like our eyes — they are gifts that we can expand. And then like using words for poetry, you begin to use songs, scents and photography to draw your dream world...
Is there a particular scent – a favorite scent! – maybe from your childhood, that evokes a strong memory in you?
Our candle Red Garden is the smell of my grandparents' garden in Beirut in the 70s. I love that smell, it brings me back to peaceful times and sunny moments.
We love how you write about believing in "our common senses," as in, a way of living that is aligned with who and what we want to be. Where does this value come from?
This is a real important sentence and value for me, it conveys different ideas. First of all, in a digital/virtual world, it’s good sometimes to come back to our 5 senses...to smell, see, touch, hear, taste more. It is also the idea that together everything is better – common senses and thoughts are better. It is also the fact that anyone of us is balanced when we get rid of all the weird education, rituals, or beliefs that make us heavier, darker...Simplicity and common sense is the happier way.
Lola James Harper understands the power of scent in changing our state of mind...or inviting in a new energy – not unlike music. Where is the connection between scent and music for you? How do you bridge the two experiences through the brand?
Music and scents are linked to memories, to moments that are worth remembering. They are both about feeling and not about thinking; they are open and poetic, never sharp and precise, so it can give some freedom for interpretation. Anyone can fill a song or a scent with its own memories and belief. They both are composed of notes that lead to chords. Will it be sound notes or scent notes? Both have the same goal to open a dream gate in our soul...
What are some small things you're doing right now to take care of yourself (mentally, physically, and/or emotionally)?
Playing basketball with my son
Buying and listening to vinyls with my daughter
Have a walk in Paris with my wife
Playing music with strangers
Lighting a candle and reading Hermann Hesse, Amin Maalouf, Confucius and Carlos Castaneda
Watching FRIENDS for few laughs
Learning how to breathe slowly and peacefully
Drinking green tea and taking the time to prepare it properly
Starting my day with a coffee that I prepare V62
Lots of fresh fruits and dried fruits
My creative/design ethos in three words:
Catch what is... With who’s around…
I always start my day with:
Coffee, vinyl playing, family breakfast.
Knowing how to keep it secret.
Song or musician I'm loving right now:
Anderson Paak & Billie Eilish.
The best purchase I’ve made under $100:
A ukulele for my daughter.
My ultimate escape – real or imagined:
Being able to take a picture of my past trips and adventures and being able to plunge in it and re-live it all…