The Perfumed Garden & Respira Black

Den parfymerade trädgården is a new book by music and garden journalist Elin Unnes published by Natur & Kultur in Stockholm. The book revolves around the enchanting mystery and alchemy that begins with the perfumer’s garden, where simple ingredients are grown to be transformed into soap, beauty care, incense, food, and drink. 

Swedish designer Stefan Fält designed the book using Respira Black for the title and headlines. On the cover, the title is set in Respira Black and debossed with gold foil, contrasting with a softer cloth cover and striking inset photograph reminiscent of Baroque still-lifes with a vase of flowers emitting soft clouds of perfume. Since the art of perfumery was considered alchemy, Fält chose to pair the typeface with muted colors as a nod to old grimoires. 

Fält described how this book is not your classic how-to guide, but has literary and historical threads. The story begins with the birth of perfume in ancient times, and traces the use of scent to contemporary times. “Perfume came to Europe in the 12th century, so I started looking at European medieval fonts which led me to blackletter and Respira Black,” he said. “It’s next to impossible to find a contemporary blackletter that isn’t bogged down with lots of ornamentation and frills. Respira Black is decorative and beautiful,  just like old blackletter scripts, but achieves this without looking ”faux vintage”. Respira Black was the natural choice for the contemporary alchemist.”

These ingredients and methods detailed in The Perfumed Garden have been around for centuries and are brought to light with a contemporary treatment much like Respira Black’s design. 

Client: Elin Unnes and Natur & Kultur
Designer: Stefan FältPhotographer: Maja ForsslundTypeface: Respira Black