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An interview with Agonist

On the eve of two new Agonist fragrances arriving at The Conran Shop, we take the opportunity to talk to the founders in an exclusive Q&A.  Talking tips to make your fragrance last, creative process and inspiration, we welcome Swedish designers Christine Gustafsson and Niclas Lydeen to Talking Shop.

Please tell us about your background and how AGONIST first started.

Agonist founders, Christine Gustafsson and Niclas Lydeen


Christine has a background in fashion and studied at Studio Bercot in Paris, Niclas is a graphic designer and Art Director. We met during various collaborations with photoshoots for fashion stories and branding. We felt that we really connected and had the same vision and shared the dream of working artistically with fragrance. For us it is an invisible product and such a beautiful starting point for artistic expressions.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

From all aspects of life in general. From the mundane to the extraordinary. Everything that in some way moves our senses – scents, sounds, taste and tactility, visuals, art, music, literature, movies...

Can you talk us through the creation of a fragrance from initial concept to realisation?

We always start with an abstract idea of a concept, an emotion, a theme which we want to give shape to. We gather all our inspiration and ideas in what we call a creative platform. It consists of various things that we feel captures the essence of our concept. Tactile materials, imagery, sketches, fragments of texts, music etc. We then approach our collaborators and start the quest for the olfactive interpretation. When the intuitive process of the fragrance is done we enter the glasswork where we artistically translate the fragrance to glass. Each and every sculpture is unique and no one are the same since they are handmade. For us, the individual bottle is connected with each and every person's individual experience of the fragrance. When the sculptures are ready we create the spray line version where each bottle is connected to the sculpture by the coloured pecure in the bottom.

Who are your fragrances for?

For anyone that seeks unique experiences in fragrance. Who appreciates quality, art and attention to detail. Our fragrances are unisex and made of 100% natural ingredients.

You launched your complete fragrance line in 2012, tell us why you did this and how it differs to your sculpture line?

Onyx Pearl Sculpture


Since the fragrance is the hero in our work and everything derives from that, we wanted it to be more accessible. The fragrance comes in a Haute Couture version and a ready-to-wear version. For us it is very important that there is a strong connection between the sculpture and the spray version. We have a patented solution where every spraybottle has a colour-coded Pecure in the base which connects it to each sculpture. We have placed all the fragrance notes on the front of the spraybottle, letting the customer come very close to the experience.
Do you have any tips on the best way to apply fragrance and how can you make your scent last longer?

Choose a quality fragrance that will last and evolve during the day. A lot of fragrance is of bad quality and will disappear very fast. Once you try a high quality fragrance it will be impossible to go back. It is a good idea to wear different fragrances for different occasions, since it sets a mood and accompanies your actions.  Apply the fragrance on your pulse points and a light mist through your hair. Oil on your skin will more effectively trap the fragrance notes and make them last longer. So by using body oil or moisturizer before adding fragrance could also prolong the experience.

What fragrance(s) do you both wear and why?

We are collectors of fragrance and what we wear varies. But now we are using mostly Onyx Pearl and Arctic Jade.

What does the future hold for Agonist?

We will continue to work artistically with fragrance and explore new ways to express our creations.

Thank you Niclas and Christine, what a pleasure to have you as our guests!  If you are inspired to update your scent collection you can buy a number of spray fragrances at The Conran Shop.  In addition to Black Amber, The Infidels, Liquid Crystal and Arctic Jade we are soon to stock Onyx Pearl and Vanilla Marble.