“We opened Aedes de Venustas twenty years ago, in 1995. The interior wasn’t planned or anything like that. It’s more an accumulation of travelling the world visiting antique fairs and flea markets.” — KARL

“It’s very opulent, a feast for your eyes. We wanted the space to reflect the brands and products we carry — [mostly] artisanal European candles and fragrances, which are very personal commodities. Customers should feel comfortable here, almost like they’re at home.” — ROBERT

“This area, with the mirrored mantle, is typically where we launch new products.” — KARL

“We only bring in one or two new brands a year, and look at three important criteria before doing so. Obviously, the smell and quality of a product. The packaging is extremely important, as is the story, or history, behind it. Brands that truly have all three are very, very hard to come by. But our job is to find the best of the best.” — ROBERT

“The arrangements change weekly; we do floral gift-wrapping, so we need fresh flowers all the time. Some of my favorites are peonies, poppies, and pomegranate bulbs. I’ll do arrangements for events by special request, but mostly I try to focus on the store’s.” — KARL

“I commissioned a Brooklyn-based illustrator, Brad Soucy, to draw the postcards, which are inspired by each of our four Aedes de Venustas candles.” — KARL

“Three years ago [in 2012], Aedes de Venustas launched a signature fragrance. Today, we have a total of five. Our second, Iris Nazarena, won Perfume Extraordinaire at the 2014 Fragrance Foundation Awards. It’s become our mission to create scents that haven’t been done before.” — ROBERT

“I found this book about famous cosmographer Andreas Cellarius at The Strand Book Store [in New York City]. Cellarius was the inspiration for a candle we created. I wanted it to smell like an old-world observatory, with hints of leather, papers, and pencil shavings.” — KARL

“The gold perfume bottle is an antique from Chelsea Flea Market [in New York City]. It’s very Marie Antoinette.” — KARL

“These are a collaboration with Cire Trudon, the French candlemaker that was founded in 1643. They approached us about working together, and created a limited edition set of their cierge camée pillar candles embellished with the Aedes de Venustas logo.” — ROBERT

“This is a new scent line we’re launching in the store this August [2015], called Nomenclature. It celebrates man-made perfume, and the molecules and captives that fragrance houses have patented over the years.” — KARL

“I got the peacock from a taxidermist in Seattle, Washington. He’s been with us for ten years and has become a signature element of the store. Recently, he made an appearance at a private dinner for Prince William and Kate Middleton in Gramercy Park, when the royals visited New York City.” — KARL


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told toAnthony Rotunno

Karl Bradl and Robert Gerstner are the founders and proprietors of Aedes de Venustas, a luxury fragrance boutique in New York City.

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