New experimental sensory-based brand, CYRE, explores how scents intertwine with memories through creation and collaboration.
Founded by Rebecca Lazar and Cynthia El Frenn, who first crossed paths in the design world, CYRE is much more than just a candle brand. Initially inspired by how scents have been used in medicinal planting, ritual practice, and ancient indulgence, each one of CYRE’s scents begins with a concept, built on notes that enthuse it, such as art, experience, or experimentation. Looking at the exploration of design and atmosphere, CYRE simply asks, “How do you feel? How do want to feel?”
With bold inspirations coming from mythology, whilst only formulating with 100% pure rare plant oils, CYRE has launched with three candles. Eros is an intoxicating mingling of dirty florals, sweet grass and thin smoke, Virgin is fresh and floral, as it burns it transforms and brings forth an earthiness, like the forest after the rain, and Monk embraces the mind with ritual, creating calm for observation, interpretation, and mastery.
The duo also invites collaboration through artistic interpretation of CYRE’s scents via experimental mediums. For their first collaborative showcase, CYRE commissioned the multidisciplinary artist, Linnea Skoglösa, to explore themes of dreams and the unconscious memory. The experimental film, ‘MEMORY OF THE VIRTUAL’, written and directed by Linnea, is set in an uncertain land; a space between reality and dreams, an imagined utopia, with the Slade School of Fine Art student’s work focusing “on examining the psychological space where the individual expression confronts the idea of wellbeing and social dystopia.”
Continuing to explore this model of collaboration and constantly aspiring to open mindedness, CYRE is rejecting the usual limitations of brand or image, always open to interpretation and reinterpretation.
Solly Warner caught up with CYRE to discuss what power scents hold in relation to memories, how the story behind each candle links with one another, and why reducing waste and promoting a more sustainable future is important.
When did your paths cross and how did CYRE come into existence?
We originally met in the design world and CYRE, like many great ideas, was conceived over cocktails. We’ve always been intrigued by the ways our environments can elevate states of mind, and CYRE was a natural extension of those conversations. We spent about a year or so researching ingredients and developing the scents and decided to launch them as a capsule of candles.
How did you land on creating candles and why did you decide to explore creativeness through this medium?
A candle plays with the built environment – it creates a landscape, it’s about atmosphere and how we can use scent to balance and transform our personal spaces.
A candle also gave us the freedom to play with the object itself, the touch of it, and the aesthetic.
CYRE describes itself as a sensory based brand. Can you elaborate on this and tell us about the power scents hold in relation to memories?
Scent receptors and memory are indelibly linked, we can all remember those times when a scent has transported us to a different place and time. But memory itself has ambiguities, it walks the line between real and unreal, so we try to do the same.
You formulate your scents with 100% pure rare plant oils. Why have you chosen to use these specific ingredients and what do they offer?
What is available to us within nature is more complex and more evocative than anything that can be achieved synthetically. When you think about it, it’s not surprising, humans can’t evolve as quickly as our environment does, we carry genetic memory of the natural world.
We try to consider that inherited memory in our ingredient selection - we trace the history of the plants we use and how they were used over time to build the worlds of our scents.
Palo Santo for instance, which features in our MONK candle, has had centuries of use as an energy cleanser Incan tradition. Jasmine Sambac, the star of our VIRGIN candle has been a symbol of ancient indulgence dating back to the Sung Dynasty.
Your products are heavily based around mythology. What sparked this particular interest and how does the story behind each candle intertwine with one another?
Myths are the stories we tell to explain the unexplainable. Our candle names wink at those stories, MONK the spiritual ascetic, EROS the hedonist.
They are yin and yang, two sides of the human experience. One profile devised to heighten clarity, allowing us to name the world, and another designed as an intoxicant that softens its boundaries.
VIRGIN is a category in itself, a memory of the virtual. We wanted the smell of potential.
Each one of your vessels is hand-blown. What is the inspiration behind this method of production?
Our vessel is inspired by water, a nourishing and essential substance that, like wax, shapeshifts, and preserves The free form shape is only achievable by handcraft, and we love the personal touch that this adds to every piece.
You encourage people to repurpose their vessels. Is reducing waste and promoting a more sustainable future significant to you? If so, then why?
We think about sustainability at every stage in the process. I think that is just a given now, and where the bigger brands are failing there are a lot of young independent brands taking the initiative and setting the example.
We have our scents thanks to Mother Earth and it’s important to us to be respectful of that.
We want every part of the CYRE candle to be a beautiful experience, and the vessel is such an intriguing object in its own right. Some of our clients have told us they’re collecting a set!
CYRE is also a platform for artists and designers. What do you hope to achieve through this and why is this an important part of your ethos?
Exploring the intangible is essential to the CYRE project, so we will always look to artists and designers to interpret and reinterpret with us. We love to be inspired and have been delighted that others have been inspired by us in turn.
Your first collaboration came with Linnea Skoglosa. What was this process like and what was the main focus for this piece of work?
For Memory of the Virtual we asked Linnea to explore themes of dreams and the unconscious memory, taking inspiration from the worlds of the three scents. There were many early conversations about reaching into the DNA of the individual scents and tapping into that inherited memory, we were very interested in induced states and the unconscious interpretations of the mind.
Linnea is amazingly talented and put together a fantastic team of collaborators whom together set about this process of world building.
Why should people support smaller, independent brands?
We love to be early adopters ourselves! What is better than discovering something beautiful, new and different?
INTERVIEW BY SOLLY WARNER