Good company: Aina Kari’s sustainable luxury candles
When designer Marina Cighir created Aina Kari in 2020, it was during the darkest moment of the pandemic in Italy.
The company pays homage to the traditions of Venice, while supporting the locals who kept them alive at a time when the city was in lockdown and tourism at a standstill.
“It was moving a year ago in Venice,” says Cighir. “I started this business in the middle of the pandemic, a huge challenge. Everything was closed. It was empty. There weren’t even any pigeons in Venice.
Cighir, who is based in the nearby town of Treviso, has created a line of home scented candles with authentic Italian Murano glass crafted with a modern twist. “Murano was closed. Without tourists it was difficult to support the economy in Venice, ”she says.
Murano, a Venetian island, has a long history of glassmaking. One of the first glass furnaces dates from the 13e century, when it became a major industry for Venice. In the 15e century, the glassmakers of Murano invented clear glass, which allowed them to create mirrors, and have become essential mirror manufacturers for all of Europe.
Today, there are few glass workshops in Murano, many of which barely operated in 2020. This brand was created to involve locals, such as Murano glassmakers Nason Moretti and 4Glass. “Working with glass is very difficult; from a technical point of view, cost and delicacy, it’s not like ceramic or any other material, ”she says. “Murano glass is another story.
“I wanted to honor Venice, its glass-making history and its sustainability,” Cighir said. “We always imagine Murano glass as a chandelier in a ballroom, something impressive and expensive.”
Some chandeliers made in Murano cost US $ 20,000, for example. “But it doesn’t always have to be that way,” she said. “I wanted to create a product like a candle that was easy to have in our homes.”
Aina Kari launched her brand with the Commedia Dell’Arte collection, featuring four luxury durable candles with. Each candle shares a different slice of the history of Venice. Each bespoke candle was designed by Irina Flore in Portland, Oregon, and manufactured by Flair Studio in Paris, with the scents produced in Grasse, France.
The “On The Stage” candles pay homage to the Italian Loggioni theaters. The purple and pink glass candles have a scent of fig milk, Italian citrus, and fresh bergamot.
The “Play” candles are inspired by characters from the beginning of the 16the century Venetian theater Commedia dell’arte, where masks were worn for comedy sketches. The spicy scent is shaped like the Venetian glass vase “Fazzoletto” (meaning handkerchief), in a rich red hue.
“Venetian red is a code – it was so precious and hard to come by from glassmakers, the color most coveted by wealthy families during Venice’s peak period,” says Cighir, who was previously responsible for retail. from the Newell Brands home fragrance brand. “I’m not inventing the wheel, it’s a candle, but the details bring knowledge.”
The “Coriandoli” collection is a floral fragrance combining orange blossom and Egyptian jasmine which honors the 1600s of Venice.e anniversary, which began on March 25.
Finally, the “In complete confidence” collection honors the first actresses who performed at the Commedia dell’arte. “It’s a sweet feminine scent,” says Cighir. “For me it’s a huge story, but most people in Italy don’t even know it.”
“On The Stage” candles cost US $ 232 each. Aina Kari’s second candle model “Play” candles cost US $ 285 each. The “With Confidence” collection sells for US $ 232 each, while the “Coriandoli” collection sells for US $ 220 each.
Aina Kari offers free shipping on orders over US $ 170 in Italy; free shipping throughout the European Union for orders over US $ 232. Standard worldwide shipping is US $ 22, international express shipping is US $ 35. Shipping to the United States is US $ 38.
WHAT IS THE GOOD?
“Glass is the most durable material there is, it lasts forever,” says Cighir. Candle wax is a blend of coconut, rapeseed, bee and soy wax, each imported from the UK. The packaging uses sustainable paper called alga carta, which is made from seaweed from the Venetian lagoon. Except for the wax, all of the suppliers are local, Cighir says. The illustrations on the packaging are by cartoonist Paolo Gallina. “The packaging is very important,” she says. “It is the soul of the product, with the candle as its heart.
The end product is Butterfly Mark compliant, a certification for luxury brands that proves they are sustainable, ethical and consumer friendly.
This month, Aina Kari makes her debut at luxury department store Rinascente in Milan.
“It’s something different in the candle market,” Cighir says. “In my experience, I was a candle buyer, something was always missing; it’s either high-end design or durable, something good, but not something that was all three.
But the story behind each candle is more important than its materials, of course. “I didn’t want to repeat the story of Murano glass, I wanted to mix it with different ideas,” she says. “It’s about sharing Italian history and teaching it with Murano glass, using it to tell stories to the younger generation.”