julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research

Fueguia 1833 in Milan

Stepping inside the Milan atelier of Fueguia 1833 introduces a facet of Julian Bedel, the mastermind behind the perfumery. The lush mahogany carpeting the interior complements with the glow of warm light that springs from the ceiling-to-floor shelves. Rows of perfume greet whoever graces the boutique, and the hints of floral, woody, and smokey scents – to name a few – form part of the air that one respires. In and out, the breathing process lights the longer one stays in the Milanese den of Fueguia 1833, the presence of Bedel’s expertise in perfumery diffusing.

Since the brand’s inception in 2010, Bedel has committed to adopting only natural components for his perfumes, the majority of which are being used for the first time in perfumery. Fueguia 1833 manufactures only 400 bottles every batch and series due to the rarity of these ingredients. Over 100 perfumes are presently available in the range, grouped into eleven collections: Alquimia, Antropologa, Aquilaria, Armonas, Destinos, Fábula Fauna, Linneo, Literatura, Muskara, Personajes, and the new El Mundo de los Ouds.

The heart of the brand lies in Patagonia, within its unspoiled territories and among the domination of nature in all of its forms. Such an environment cultivates Bedel’s ambition to use – and maintain – natural resources to drive his creations, all of which are cultivated and distilled with the help of the Patagonia community. Fueguia 1833 takes its inspiration from Argentina, the region being a limitless supply of stimuli for brewing organic blends, and the brand posing as a tribute to the zesty culture of South America’s history, art, music, and environment.

images by Fueguia 1833

Approach to sustainability

Warmth and sensuality characterize the universe of Fueguia 1833 from perfumes to diffusers. From here, he adorns his personality with the narrative of sustainability, all through actions rather than words. Fueguia 1833 perfumes purposely lack polycyclic musk compounds – elements widely used in perfumery that have been dubbed to cause potential harm to the health of aquatic species – and have long replaced them with biodegradable vegetable elements.

Fueguia 1833 formulations contain musk of plant origin, ethanol of organic derivation, and the blending of essences that undergoes long maceration processes. The perfumes are free from UV filters, synthetic preservatives and dyes, ingredients of animal origin, animal tests, and phthalates. The local communities Bedel and his brand work with grow and distill the plant species infused into the perfumes. Such an initiation remains possible through a collaboration with HelpArgentina, a non-profit organization founded in 2002 by Bedel supporting organizations that promote the social development of Argentine territories.

Imprinting his signature and thoroughness in his creations means Bedel oversees the research of the aromatics and medicinal plants found globally. To cater to his arduous but worthy process, he opened Fueguia Botany in 2016, a plantation of fifty acres in Uruguay where over one hundred aromatic plants are grown, originating from South America. The botany includes a fully equipped laboratory for extraction and uses supercritical fluid CO2 technology, which distills and extracts the exotic ingredients by applying low temperature and avoiding the use of hexane and other solvents that often harm the environment.

For every perfume bought comes a wooden box as its home, hand-built by carpenter students in Patagonia or in a woodwork inside the Fueguia 1833 factory in Milan. Each sturdy packaging is sourced from the fallen-trees wood from Patagonia. As for the recyclable, glass bottles of the liquid, the brand uses only FSC certified acid free paper and soy-based ink. The extrasensory craftsmanship confers the patrons the virtues Fueguia 1833 revolve itself around, layered by the notes of medicinal plants and species distilled and bottled at a thorough pace.

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research

designboom with julian bedel

When Designboom spoke with the Argentine artisan, he told us about his decision to give birth to an art installation in his perfume shops across the world, the foundation of community creation where people come to linger, close their eyes for a moment, inhale his house-blend scents, and understand the philosophy Bedel seeks to manifest. The concept lasts and has enshrined the branches of his atelier, from London to Japan.

In Milan, a hexagon sculpture made primarily of wood takes up the center of the space, the heart that displays the concoction Bedel and his team have curated so far. Clear glass tubes house earthy and soft liquid that speaks of luxury and sophistication, the resulting pigment of the perfumes from the use of natural ingredients that Fueguia 1833 abides by.

Upon a closer look, handwritten-esque details appear in white marker on the body of the bottles. The capped bottles then put on a show for the patrons as the in-house team places each perfume glass on square, wooden boxes at the hexagon installation. Through such a display, the perfumery instills artistry into its commercial stunts as a testament to its founder’s botanical exploration and creation.

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
milan boutique of Fueguia 1833

tracing back the roots

From curiosity to reality, the birth of Bedel’s reverence for the influence of scents on humans and fostering the essence of natural resources and ingredients paved a way for Fueguia 1833 to be established in Buenos Aires in 2010. Bedel drew the name of his brand from the scientific explorations and the meeting between the naturalist Charles Darwin, the navigator Robert Fitz Roy, and the native of Tierra del Fuego ‘Fueguia Basket’.

Bedel comes from a household of artists with his father and brothers dabbling in painting and sculpture. His affinity towards art has always been alive, but in the past, he admits to Designboom that he could not make a living out of it. He juggled his artmaking side with a branding business that became his bread and butter. Most of the time, he would hone his skills in arts and crafts including making guitars.

His father had a workshop in their home that allowed Bedel to toy with raw materials such as wood and pigments. Once, his father handed him the text of Linda Brown Buck and Richard Axel on the genome of the olfactory bulb and soon, he began to understand and invest his time in understanding how the brain functions once it comes into contact with volatile molecules and how humans relate to their environment.

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
Fueguia 1833 explores perfumes through botanial research

a homage to the ancestors

‘There is no sense that activates as many parts of the brain and consequently creates as many reactions as smell,’ Bedel tells Designboom. ‘When you are impacted by an ingredient, you start producing hormones. It can excite you or relax you, and at the same time, it will give you a change in the perception of time. It also activates the memory, leaving a fingerprint in your history. When I realized the power of this medium, I knew immediately that I wanted to work with it. This was added to the fact that my family is also very agricultural, so we had some spectacular properties in the middle of the argentine mesopotamia where my brothers and I spent our summers helping with the crops and working in the fields.’

Bedel shares that Fueguia 1833 acts as a homage to his ancestors who were naturalists and writers. ‘Louis Bedel, Henry D’orbigny, Maurice Bedel, René Bedel and Filiberto Oliveira de Cézar. They roamed a world on their own, and left a unique imprint of their singular, inquisitive minds. Fueguia 1833 is born from the association between Europe and South America, originated centuries ago. Continuing our tradition, we identify a native species to conceive and create in Buenos Aires and Milan. Creating the scents, which reflect the exotic diversity of South American natural treasures,’ he shares.

If one asks Bedel on how he can describe his perfumery, his creative and artisan self will identify Fueguia as a proposition for wandering spirits, sensitive to the call of reminiscence.

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
glass bottled of the perfumes

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
Fueguia 1833 laboratory

julian bedel of fueguia 1833 infuses his perfumes with medicinal plants and botanical research
the heart of the brand lies in patagonia

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