PARIS – On May 24, Lancôme will inaugurate its organic rose estate in Grasse, France, operated using ecological horticulture methods that respect biodiversity.
The L’Oréal brand acquired the 3-hectare site, called Domaine de la Rose, in 2020. The estate also grows other aromatic plants in organically grown fields and includes ancient terraces.
“When I visited the estate two and a half years ago, I was immediately won over,” Francoise Lehmann, Lancôme’s global brand president, told WWD. “We decided to completely renovate it, while respecting the environment. The terraces have been renovated, there is a whole water recovery system [for rain water]which therefore makes it possible to aim for autonomy in water, which is currently very important on the Côte d’Azur.
The site has been entirely eco-designed to be in line with Lancôme’s multiple commitments in terms of sustainable development.
The brand is developing a biodiversity sanctuary there to safeguard the territory’s heritage and natural resources. At least 163 plant species grow on these lands, and the estate is home to 33 species of birds, 31 species of butterflies, eight species of dragonflies and 12 species of bats.
“The primary vocation of this estate is to make Lancôme a producer of roses,” said Lehmann, who called Grasse “the cradle of world perfumery.” She explained that it was also important to preserve the know-how of traditional production methods of perfume plants.
Lancôme sows local plant species and perfumed flowers using sustainable and traceable organic methods. The former owners of the estate were considered pioneers in the organic cultivation of roses and perfume plants, and Lancôme follows their approach.
To contribute to the protection of the territory, agroforestry methods have been implemented and, for the existing architecture, dry stone walls have been preserved and restored with traditional techniques.
The architects of the NeM agency Lucie Niney and Thibault Marca were commissioned to rework the existing main building, called the Maison Rose. This one has been renovated in the spirit of a traditional Provençal house but with touches of modernity, such as geometric silhouettes.
The pink walls of the house – reminiscent of the color of a rose and a typical hue used on buildings in the region – were insulated with a mixture of straw from lavender harvested on the estate and wood fiber, which was then coated with lime plaster. This and other features such as air conditioning provided by a geothermal heat pump have enabled the project to obtain Gold Sustainable Mediterranean Building certification.
The estate also aims to be a place of transmission of the brand’s know-how related to perfume plants. The place, cultivated for around 500 years, will sometimes be open to the general public from 2023 in order to discover Lancôme’s efforts in terms of biodiversity, in particular those related to the rose, during events and training. The house has an educational distillery and a perfume organ.
Lancôme uses plants from this land in its perfumes. From June, we discover the new flower Rosa x centifolia of the domain in the limited edition perfume La Vie Est Belle Domaine de la Rose, as well as in the perfume Maison Lancôme 1001 Roses.
The site is at the heart of Lancôme’s social and environmental responsibility strategy. Already, the brand uses 99% organic roses in its skincare and makeup. One of its objectives is to use 100% organic roses, 60% of which will be grown in France by 2025.
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