The language of plants, is what inspired Utrecht-based conceptual designer & perfumer Merle Bergers to launch her own perfume brand 'Lingua Planta' back in 2019. In this article Merle takes you through her story and how she managed to translate her passion for plants and their scents into her beautiful perfumes.
Surrounded by nature
It started my journey as a perfumer at a young age, growing up in a small forest of the Netherlands where I was surrounded with so many wonderful plants. I was very much into naturopathy when I was younger and I was making my own concoctions and tinctures, soaking up all information I could find about how plants heal us, but I also felt a lot of empathy with the plants & trees, a real kinship and deep connection with them growing up together.
The Lingua Planta fragrances came to be after a research on plant intelligence where I felt particularly inspired by the notion of inter- and cross-species plant signaling via a molecular language. A language we all have experienced; walking in the woods- smelling sun-warmed Pine trees interacting with Mosses and microbes, or imagine smelling a Rose still on the bush in a garden that’s buzzing with pollinators. These scents carry a meaning that goes so much deeper than just the joy or sense of well-being these experiences bring to us.
The fragrances I formulated to be like a portal into these natural landscapes or smellscapes where these natural interactions take place. Natural perfume as a way to connect to this more-than human world, to transport people to another space, into the beauty and magic of plant intelligence.
There’s an ancient tradition of making perfumes and essential oils have been used as perfume since at least 3300 b.c. To be partaking in this long tradition in perfume making, I feel it connects me with not only the plants but also the people who did it before me, the original healers, ‘witches’, botanists and alchemists. I feel this excitement and inspiration from artisan perfumers from the past as I feel there is a lot of wisdom carried through these botanical essences, layered with meaning, spirituality and sacredness.
Scent has a very real influence on how we feel. With every inhale of a perfume you breathe in tiny particles that enter our olfactory system and rapidly travel through our brain’s emotional center, the limbic system. This is where memories and emotions are stored. The limbic system also plays a part in controlling other functions like heart rate and breathing and our overall sense of well-being. Scent can evoke vivid memories, awaken your spirit, give an energetic boost or make you feel calm and rooted.
Fragrance, the portal to an unseen world...
Natural essences have these very deep, layered, very rich and nuanced volatile beauty to them. When I am formulating a perfume I feel humbled to be working with that kind of magic. I love making perfumes that develop beautifully on the skin but also harness the properties of plants and their natural ways, how they work synergistically together and what influence they have on us.
We are born out of, and enmeshed with the world of plants. I am breathing the air that is being made by the plant next to me. I believe that fragrances can be a portal into this unseen world and hold the power to root us in the nature that we are part of and the nature of who we are, for a more interconnected living with plants instead of a life lived separate from nature.
Written by Merle Berger, conceptual designer & founder of Lingua Planta.
Photo's by @Marieke Verdenius.
Want to explore the collection?
Discover the complete Lingua Planta natural perfume collection at Nourished.