A story told through fragrance. Established in 2015, Black Blaze gently combine their sense of design with their appreciation of nature to develop scents that traverse locations and moments. Thoughtfully crafted from locally sourced materials and handmade in Paddington, Sydney, their range of candles, sprays, diffusers and oils are designed to capture the essence of Australia. We spent a morning with founders Ray & Joe to learn more about the philosophy behind the brand and our new collaboration room spray - Petrichor.
Hi Joe & Ray, can you please introduce yourselves?
Hi! We are the founders of Black Blaze. We’re passionate about travelling and exploring good design.
Before establishing Black Blaze in 2015, we worked as Editors of fashion & lifestyle magazines for several years. Ray worked as Editor in Chief of Kinfolk magazine in China. Working as magazine editors allowed us to collaborate closely with many great designers and brands, inspiring us to explore a new phase of our professional career and personal life through our own brand.
How was Black Blaze conceptualised and what drew you to start the brand?
We believe that there is beauty in good design. Design is a universal language that we can use precisely but subtly to express highly personalised or even obscure feelings.
Black Blaze was conceptualised while travelling across Australia. Although the natural landscapes are different in each place, we felt a sense of harmony and unity that we wanted to explore further.
We realised that the diversity, openness and eagerness to get closer to nature in the Australian lifestyle is quite unique and different from other countries we’ve been to. At Black Blaze, we interpreted this spirit into different fragrances representing different places in Australia.
The original idea of Black Blaze was simple. Our very first scented candle range - “The Great Outdoor” was an expression of how we felt about our first journey around Australia and our impressions of the country. We chose scented candles as the medium of design because we love the way they can communicate a memory.
We think scents are personal but they are quite easy to resonate with emotionally and can bring a sense of beauty and joy. After launching “The Great Outdoor” range, we have brought more products into the market including interior fragrance sprays, diffuser oils, homeware brass accessories, and our best-selling pillar candles.
What is the philosophy behind the brand and how does this manifest in your Paddington space and product line?
As a designer home brand, Black Blaze is inspired by nature. Minimalism and modernism play important roles in our product design and store styling, and many of our customers have drawn parallels with the Japanese aesthetic philosophy of Wabi Sabi.
In our Paddington store’s visual design, we used muted, warm colours as the main background tone for the entire space. Geometric shapes, arches and curves help to guide the eye and encourage you to explore the shelves. Along with the rustic surface of the sand wall and raw wooden display stands, there are lush green plants, rocks and driftwood scattered around the store as a small reminder of the brand‘s connection to nature.
We hope to create a soft and welcoming atmosphere for customers as they browse, so that they feel a sense of calm.
In terms of product development, we have always had the belief that a good product should be well-designed both functionally and aesthetically. All of our product lines - including scented candles, interior fragrance sprays, diffuser oils, and homeware accessories - are designed to meet the different needs and occasions of everyday life.
Where do you find inspiration for your scents?
Traveling has always been an important way for us to find inspiration for scents. Just like people, places and spaces have different personalities. Every lake, mountain, and forest has its own unique scent. We found that immersing ourselves in these different natural environments was a great way to experience new emotions and memories and translate these through fragrance.
Can you tell us about your creative process? How do you approach product development?
It’s not easy being creative. As designers and entrepreneurs, we’ve experienced the desperate moment of not having any ideas and falling into self-doubt. We’ve also experienced the rare but magic moment where an idea goes viral! I have to admit that It’s difficult to get a perfect balance between art and business. We’re on a journey of self-exploration as creatives to form a productive creative process. It’s ever-evolving.
We learnt quickly that it’s very important to have a clear destination. To know why we’re making a product and the need it satisfies. When we’re brainstorming it’s easy to get distracted, knowing the final destination has helped us to focus on the real need of the product and to avoid getting lost.
In what way can candles and fragrance influence the way you experience a space?
Scents can create both strangeness and familiarity. As smell is a subjective sense, the overlapping of realistic space with the imaginative space created by scents creates interesting experiences and prompts people to think twice about the concept of “right here and right now”. For example, lighting a candle from home while travelling can be a relaxing reminder of the familiar. It can also take you out of the everyday, and transport you to a different place and time.
What are your personal favourites from the range and how do you style/use them in your own homes?
I love the interior fragrance spray range as it has a magic power to immediately change the atmosphere of a space and to make you feel better. For a scent collector and explorer like me, this interior fragrance spray range provides several different scents to explore. You can try different scents at different times and occasions. I recommend using “Bush walk” in the morning when you wake up. It’s an amazing way to start a new day! The modern design of the product itself is very eye-catching. The brown bottle and white label make it fit in any modern home style. It could be placed alone as a decoration or placed in a brass candle tray. It also could be perfectly matched with a vase or our Column Pillar candle.
Can you tell us more about our collaboration room spray? What are the fragrance notes and what is the scent inspired by?
Our collaboration room spray, Petrichor, is inspired by misty mornings in the mountains of Wollumbin National Park. We wanted to create a scent that captured both the atmosphere and freshness we felt when visiting.
We encourage you to immerse yourself in the calm, fresh scents of bushland after rain, imagine the subtle rustling of trees and take in the aroma of wild fruit, sandalwood and honeysuckle. We love to spray this one in the morning!