Bioaroma I Museum & Experience Store by KAAF I Kitriniaris Associates Architecture Firm | World Design Awards 2020

KAAF I Kitriniaris Associates Architecture Firm: Third Award of World Design Awards 2020. Bioaroma Museum & Experience Store in Crete features fragrances and natural cosmetics. The starting point for the architectural design is committed to the triple bottom line concept, which asserts that long-term and sustainable progress requires the balanced achievement of economic development, environmental performance, and social advancement. In keeping with this philosophy, Bioaroma is a vertically integrated manufacturing unit that follows strategies for viable development in terms of the production, processing, and standardization of its products, and with regard to their distribution to market, as the plastic wrapping is made from sugar cane from responsibly managed plantations, and the packaging from recycled paper. The final product reaching the international market is 100% natural, without added water, and part of their production is exhibited at Bioaroma’s museum of perfumes and natural cosmetics, and in their 240sqm experience store.  


The architectural design aims to highlight and promote the civilization and history of Crete in relation to natural cosmetics, essential oils, and herbs, simultaneously integrating local traditional handicraft with modern industrial manufacturing methods. To reflect the former, local, natural, rough-hewn stone was used for the museum background along with natural oak plywood for the store furnishings. To reflect the latter, metal sheets were used for the double revolving entrance doors, the museum’s showcases, the shelter and ceiling of the store, and plexiglass for the museum exhibition panels.


The placement of the store in the layout’s centre of gravity has a dual significance. Firstly it is in direct contact with the entrance so as not to hinder scheduled tours or workshops in the museum; secondly it is directly visible to the peripheral museum traffic, so as to form a point of reference for the visitor, both in terms of the history of perfume and cosmetics, and in relation to the exhibition and promotion of the firm’s products. Further special functionality has been integrated throughout the museum, such as the dedicated narration space where visitors can hear the history of perfume and cosmetics from a digital hologram

specially designed boudoir furnishings with washbasins and mirrors for sampling perfume; the atelier for creating a personalized perfume; the workshop for producing perfumes and cosmetics; the cabin for pre-sale product production; and the connectivity of the experience through a special photobooth to photograph and share the experience on social media.


Ladanum (the wild rockrose), the resin of cistus creticus, was the most important natural product of Crete. It is the plant with the highest content of polyphenols in Europe. It was used in incense, therapeutic ointments and as a red color of perfumes. Dittany was the sacred plant of Artemis Diktynna, kept on Dikti mount. She used it in the production of medicinal healing pulses and aromatic wines (diktamit wine). Cretan land is a botanical paradise. It is one of the richest ecosystems in Europe. Appropriate climatic conditions and soil quality consist the ideal environment for many medicinal and aromatic plants. The use of herbs in diet, healing and grooming played an important role in traditional societies.

The choice of color for the metal architectural components integrates the building with the color palette found in the natural stone that was used in the construction of the museum, as well as in the soil and local flora, highlighting the color structure of dittany and labdanum.

Firm: KAAF I Kitriniaris Associates Architecture Firm
Architect: Alexandros Kitriniaris
Category: Cultural Built
Project Location: Agios Nikolaos, Crete, Greece
Team: Alexandros Kitriniaris, Popi Georgopoulou, Dominiki Katramadopoulou, Aggeliki Zavraka, Christiana Alifanti

Country: Greece
Photography ©Credit: Simone Bossi

KAAF is an Athens-based, award-winning international architecture practice, founded by Alexandros Kitriniaris.