There’s nothing more evocative than a beautiful scent – something that might remind you of a long summer’s night, a dear friend or a special moment you don’t want to forget – wouldn’t you agree?
Australian-born product designer Luca Chiaravalle of L’ASCARI not only combines amazing scent combinations in his various ranges of candles, bath and body products, but he has managed to meld his eye for design in his branding and packaging with a familial heritage of artisanal Italy to create hand-made, hand-poured products with a sustainable bent.
When you buy a candle from their ‘Yellow’ range L’ASCARI will buy one can of food to help feed pensioners, students, low-income earners, people with mental illness and the homeless. So far they have donated 1400 cans of food. All their candles are made with eco-friendly materials: they are free from toxic materials, pesticides and herbicides, are not tested on animals, and the soy is manufactured from pure soy beans so contains no petroleum (paraffin waxes).
Not only do his candles boast more traditional fragrances such as Mediterranean Fig; French Pear; and Wild Freesia, Lavender and Lime but his range of Mancandles turn the concept of a ‘fragrance’ on its head. Heady scents of sawdust, open fields and oak trees are genuinely both realistic and aromatic and designed to appeal to men – as much as, I believe, women. (In fact, they are so ‘who’d have thought’ we just had to stock them in the store!).
Come and meet Luca and find out a little more about what makes his brand tick …
Please introduce yourself – what’s your background and how have you ended up where you are today?
My name is Luca Chiaravalle and my background is in product design which I studied at Monash University.
When and why did you begin exploring with candle making?
Most candles on the market did not have a ‘design’ aspect to them so I wanted to change that in terms of the label design and packaging. I also wanted to create a product which was handmade which reflects the way things were done in the past by skilled artisans.
Tell us about the importance of using eco-friendly materials and processes?
I think most companies now are extremely conscious about using eco-friendly products and processes and the role they play in having a successful business. Customers know what they want especially in a product such as a candle where the main ingredient to form the product could be either eco-friendly or not, and you need to provide the best products at a reasonable price.
Tell us about the process of developing your different – and often quite unique – fragrances? How challenging is it to come up with specific scents and getting them right? What was the impetus behind your Mancandle range?
Candles have predominantly always been targeted towards women. I wanted to change that and create a range men could confidently go out and buy for themselves. The Mancandle is for every man and allows any man to be able to enhance his space be it at work or at home by being able to customise the scent of his environment. Putting the finishing touch to a room is no longer left to just the female.
Explain how your Italian heritage influences what you do and make?
The inspiration for starting the brand is from my ancestors in Italy. We very much live the Italian way with family, food and culture and I like to put this into my designs, but being European I guess it comes naturally.
Can you tell us about any new products you’re working on at the moment?
L’ASCARI has expanded into body and bath products with organic bath salts and an organic olive body bar and we are looking to introduce more products into this category.
My guilty pleasure is …
Pizza. After all, I am Italian!
My favourite scent is …
The best thing about living in Melbourne is …
The café’s, food and lifestyle.
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment?
Who’d have thought … candles for men!
Thanks Luca! And in case you were wondering: L’Ascari is an ancient word that dates back to the Eleventh Century and symbolises courage, honour and nobility.
L’ASCARI LAB votive series: Mandarin – crisp mandarin and tangerine is followed by orange, plum and peach ending with hints of lavender, jasmine and lily.