‘Perfume Architecture’ Comes To Life In James Turrell’s Collaboration With Lalique

  • 4 Nov '22
  • 1:30 pm by Crew

James Turrell does not accept the artificial or the conventional. For over half a century, the work of this leading American artist has centered on light and the ability to transform it into a striking, unique, and mystical experience. Known for his large-scale immersive light installations, Turrell has now created work on a small scale, for the first time ever. In collaboration with French glassmaker Lalique, Turrell has designed two sculptural, coloured bottles for the luxury brand’s perfumes named Range Rider and Purple Sage, unveiled at Paris+ par Art Basel in late October.

Range Rider, Edition of 100. Image by Maxime Tetard-Les Graphiquants ©James Turrell and Lalique.

Talking about the shape of the bottles, Turrell says, “I am fascinated by Egypt and by the stupa shapes found in Asia, especially in Tibet, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma, China and Japan. Their architectural structure, like that of the pyramids, makes them monuments of high spiritual value in which light plays an essential role.” Turrell used this as inspiration for his design, which had to contain the light and yet allow its slight colouring to shine through.

Paying homage to his American roots, the artist also took inspiration from Zane Grey’s novel Riders of the Purple Sage, a Western classic. “Thanks to a close collaboration with Lalique’s perfumers, Range Rider captures and releases the substantial fragrances of my land: those of animal,sage-scratched leather chaps, pepper, amber and citrus.” Turrell adds, “An olfactory architecture that speaks of the sun-drenched Western ranching. Purple Sage, named after this delicate queen of plants that blooms exclusively in Arizona, offers a different interpretation of my relationship with the great American West, undulating between delicacy and strength.

Purple Sage, Edition of 100. Image by Maxime Tetard-Les Graphiquants ©James Turrell and Lalique.

The crystal perfume bottles have been created in a limited edition of 100 of each model, equating to hours of work by highly skilled artisans. Entirely handmade, these works of art feature pure geometric shapes in polished coloured crystal. This unique collaboration marks a break with the traditional approach in the creation of Lalique bottles. No other artist has ever designed or inspired perfume bottles at Lalique, and with James Turrell, the French brand reaffirms its insatiable curiosity for artistic culture in all its forms.