Maya Njie (pronounced ‘Maia N-Jai’) has diverse familial and artistic roots, having been born in Västerås Sweden, with a West African heritage, and moving to London in her teens where she went in to study at the University of the Arts. Weaving together these threads via the medium of the senses, Maya began experimenting with smell alongside the the visual mediums of colour and photography.
Indeed, so Maya told us when we first met her, the studio often gained visitors of passers-by who’d been attracted first by the wonderful scents wafting from the doors.
‘Some would ask if they could buy whatever fragrance it was, and I had to explain they weren’t for sale. But it got me thinking…’
Within Nordic Cedar, for example, we may never have visited the Swedish Forest it was inspired by, but we feel a sense of towering trees, the reassuring comfort of cedar and earthy patchouli enclosing us as cardamom gifts brightness, ambergris adds a touch of mist.
For Vanilj, the traditional Swedish note of cardamom is used again, the comfort intensified by addictively dark vanilla that swirls boozily amidst ambered musk.
In Tobak, addiction is ramped up via the honeyed smokiness of the tobacco leaf, a trail of animalic musks and leather resonating many hours later.
Incorporating music as another inspirational medium, Les Fleures is named for Minnie Ripperton’s 1970 song, a green floral scent that ripples with bergamot’s brightness, magnolia and sweet fig, an ‘unbound celebration of life, love and creation.’
Those longing to escape might yearn for Tropica – an invitation to imagine ‘trading in a dark, bleak and cold setting for a warmer climate far away, with flourishing green vegetation and remote beaches’ with tropical fruits lushly layered on sandalwood and coconut.
And in Voyeur Verde, nature claims an abandoned car, leaves and creepers entangling the leather seats, a wonderfully verdant burst of rebirth and ‘balmy cypress trees shadowed by the Sierra Bernia mountains.’