Ben Krigler’s Intelligent Design

The fifth-generation perfumer talks fragrance, furniture and the family business.

Ben Krigler
Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 04/13/2012

Armed with twin passions for fragrance and furniture design, Ben Krigler has set out to expand his family’s storied 100-year-old business, Krigler Perfumes.

This story first appeared in the April 13, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I always knew I’d take over the family business,” says Krigler, who created the concept for the company’s store in The Plaza Hotel and serves as its in-house designer, nose and president of operations. “We have such a legacy, such a treasure.”

Krigler’s passion for creation may have started with scent making—he helped his perfumer mother blend notes while growing up in France—but it eventually led him to architecture. “I’ve always had a real desire to create things with my hands,” he says. To date, Krigler has designed everything from multifunctional furniture (he’s sitting in one of his designs in the photo above) to stores, gardens, linens and cutlery; his pieces are available via private order.

“I have the same thought process for architecture as I do when making a fragrance,” says Krigler. “I think first of a base and start building on top of that. Anything I make has to have a strong, solid foundation.”

As a brand, Krigler certainly has strong roots, as well. Originally launched in Saint Petersburg, Russia, by Albert Krigler, the company had outposts in Berlin; Antibes, France; and New York and was worn by the likes of Grace Kelly (her favorite was Chateau Krigler 12) Marlene Dietrich and Audrey Hepburn, who favored English Promenade 19.

Ben Krigler joined the firm in 2000, and says designing the Plaza store enabled him to combine his passions. “I wanted something very true to the brand,” he says. To that end, he utilized worldly materials: solid oak from Austria, Italian marble, crystals from Germany, all accented with the brand’s colors of black, gold and tan. “The Plaza feels like my home and I wanted people to feel that,” says Krigler, who works with a team of skilled artisans in France on each of his handmade designs. Nowadays, Krigler is as focused as ever on the family brand, which is available at Krigler’s shops in New York and Monte Carlo as well as online.

Plans call for a store in Los Angeles in the next six months and a location in Paris by the fall; Krigler’s long-term goal is to create an intimate hotel, utilizing both his furniture designs and perfume creations. “As an architect you try and respect what is already surrounding you and it’s the same for me with fragrance,” says Krigler. “My father always used to say you never do something for nothing. You always use what you know.”