Guerlain The Bee Bottle: Born in 1853, Made For The Future

Discover the timeless allure of Guerlain's Bee Bottle, an emblem of luxury and heritage since 1853, designed to transcend into the future.
Photos: Courtesy of Guerlain

Entitled “Born in 1853. Made for the future”, the short movie shows a video montage of over 1800 images generated in collaboration with a custom-designed AI model and a text-to-image technique, retracing the Bee Bottle’s illustrious past through historical or artistic landmarks and imagining a utopic version of its future. The short movie was released on June 12th on Guerlain’s website and social media platforms and will be showcased in an immersive setup at Vivatech Paris starting June 14th, 2023.

In 1853, Guerlain’s founder designed the Bee Bottle as a wedding present to French Empress Eugenie de Montijo with Napoléon III. Originally Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain imagined the case of his Eau De Cologne Impériale, a cylindrical bottle decorated with bees and a dome in golden festoons inspired by the Vendôme column. A symbol of the Empire, the bee at Guerlain resonates with the history of France. This is the birth of the Bee Bottle. Since then, the Bee Bottle has remained unchanged and has crossed historical and cultural landmarks with elegance and grace. To this day, the Bee Bottle remains the incarnation of Guerlain’s vibrant craftsmanship and excellence.

In 2023, on the occasion of the Bee Bottle’s 170th anniversary, Guerlain is paying tribute to its timeless beauty and paving the way for the 170 years to come with the help of artificial intelligence. A challenging retrospective and a promising glimpse into the future made possible by the combination of a custom-designed artificial intelligence model and extensive research into Maison Guerlain’s heritage.

An unmatched journey through time, exploring Guerlain’s deep profound commitment to the world of art and beauty in the past, present, and future. Over 1800 unique pieces of art were generated and assembled into an ethereal digital exhibition curated with the expertise of artistic directors, archivists, and creative technologists.

A quote by Ann Caroline Prazan, Head of Art, Culture and Heritageat Guerlain: “Guerlain’s history is deeply rooted into art history and broadly speaking the definition of beauty through time. Loyal to its ambition to treasure every artistic gesture, Guerlain couldn’t remain alien to the world of AI generative art and wanted to experiment with it, hand in hand with our creative excellence. The Bee Bottle’s 170th anniversary was a perfect opportunity to sublimate our rich heritage and project the Bee Bottle’s into the 170 years to come”.

The short film opens on a vibrant homage to the Bee Bottle’s illustrious past from 1853 to 2023, exploring its legacy from its creation by Pierre François Pascal Guerlain under the French Second Empire, to the Orientalist movement that has left a deep imprint on Guerlain fragrances like Shalimar, not to forget the Positivist era, fueled by faith in science and progress, embraced by Guerlain in its pioneering synthetic essences.

Fueled by the Bee Bottle’s inspiring heritage, the film explores beyond 2023 to imagine a utopic future, seeking new forms of creative expressions in the name of beauty and sustainability, tapping into optimistic Solar Punk aesthetics and celestial grace.

To reach this groundbreaking level of creative excellence, Guerlain has trained its own custom-designed AI model, designed to generate, and sublimate the Bee Bottle with high precision, while allowing imperfections and aesthetical oddities — characteristics of generative art, to remain. Combined with human sensibility, this AI model ambitions to achieve a new form of creative mastery.

Guerlain has designed its very own rules to govern over its creative collaboration with AI. 

a.    Each generated creation must result from the alliance of AI and human craft: artists’ work is valued and should not be replaced by the creative potential of generative Ai.

b.    AI & Human work hand in hand to elevate the artistic gesture and generate something greater than the sum of its parts.

c.    Guerlain embraces Ai’s aesthetic imperfections and oddities to remain creatively audacious.