During my prolonged séjour in France, I at long last perfected the art of shopping outdoors instead of in. It was in the outside food markets where you found the good stuff, like any good farmers’ market pro knows. But besides the food that filled the girth of my panier, the floppy classic Provençal market basket made of dried African palm leaves and leather, I always made room for a bar or two of Marseille made artisanal soap. Before France, I knew bar soap to be, well, rather bland. Dove and Ivory come to mind, leaving a sterile scent and a general dryness all over my skin. Now, I’m sure Dove and Ivory are fantastic brands, but the whole cleaning experience is much more durable, at the very least, by having forty different scents to choose from!
I wish I had more photos of the great outdoor markets and the soap stalls boasting those classic Provençal smells, lavande, olive, citron, fleur d’oranger, as well as those more exotic scents like licorice. I must have been more intrigued with buying and tasting than actually capturing the food shopping moment onto file. Tant pis!
But in the spirit, I thought I would at least share my own take on designing product packaging that would do these bars and blocks ample justice. Orange blossom was one of my favorite scents; subtle yet fragrant, I am fascinated by the versatility of citrus. I wanted the packaging to reflect not only soap’s aliveness today, not something reserved for a stiff, sterile supermarket shelf, but as well its closeness to the earth, the sea and the soil, in the form of natural ingredients. Although not one of my newest projects, it was a fun one to brainstorm!