Sunday, April 4, 2010

Olfactive Future - Part 03 - SCENT AS DESIGN

Photo credit: Richard Perry & The New York Times
Extracted from The NY Times:
ART AND SCIENCE The show “Design and the Elastic Mind,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, features items like “Smell +,” left, whose designer, James Auger, said he wanted to underscore the diminished importance the sense of smell had in our lives by creating a device that allowed people to smell each other’s bodily scents before they met. To read more click here
MIND 08 was a conference presented by SEED and MoMa, inspired by "Design and Elastic Mind". The conference brought together an eclectic group of scientists, designers and architects, to discuss topics such as personal genome, brain visualization, generative architecture, and collective design. The idea was to explore news ways of transforming visual and intellectual landscapes.
Photo credit: Jane Nisselson, Virtual Beauty/Design
Following this project, in March 26th of 2010 another conference took place in New York City called HEADSPACE ON SCENT AS DESIGN. IFF, Coty, MoMa and SEED presented a one day symposium to discuss on the concept, the impact and the potential applications of scents. To acknowledge new ways to apply scents as a design concept. Perfumers, designers, architects, chefs, artists and scientists gathered together to overlook the importance of scents, the increasingly scent-free environment movements.
"The idea that led us to organize Headspace is that scent is not only a medium for design, but also a design form in its own right. Perfumers and scientists working on scent perform every time a design act. Sometimes it is good, sometimes mediocre. It can be very commercial, or more limited and idiosyncratic. Just like other forms of design, it is targeted to the goal at hand, whether the creation of a new clothing detergent with universal appeal or of a unique scent that will touch only a few dozen wrists. Just like other forms of design, it requires expertise and dedication, not to mention talent. We are therefore not advocating that any self-described designer should also feel free to tackle scent, but rather that designers should be aware of the spatial and perceptive potential of scent, and that perfumers should realize that they are engaged in design and take advantage of that knowledge." (extracted from SEED - article wrote by Eva Wisten).
Comment: The idea of the symposium was to present scent as a form of design and make a parallel to different aspects of design and how perfumery applies them.
"An approach similar to the wine industry’s could motivate the public to acquire an education and a vocabulary to share their olfactive experiences. We have cultivated a sophisticated approach to flavor that makes us think we can really choose among twelve types of salt and twenty-five types of olive oils. There is no similar reciprocal relationship in the domain of smell that invites and rewards people to cultivate and pursue odor distinctions and experiences."(extracted from SEED - article wrote by Eva Wisten)
Comments: What caught this bloger's attention was that the article compared perfumery to the process of making/tasting/understanding wine. This bloger has been also mentioning here and off blog that, if there is a culture in development of the knowledge about wines and teas why not develop the culture of understanding the sense of smell and scents. To educate and to develop skills to describe olfactive experiences (scentlinguistics*). We, the passionados for fragrances need to fight for this cause, instead of only sitting and writing reviews about perfumes we love! We need to fight to establish Perfumery as an art, as design. Some French courts are refusing to understand perfumery as an art!
I have mentioned here the work of Mrs. Sissel Toolas (click HERE to read). She created a scent- language called NASALO. Her work is crucial for this development of expanding the vocabulary to describe smells, odors, aromas, scents and fragrances. It is a start.
I have also brought Osmoart and their projects harmonizing arts, photography, music, poetry, etc... with fragrances and their projects to teach kids about the sense of smell and about fragrances.

"Scent emerges as an exciting realm for design exploration precisely at a time when the dematerialization of technology seem to be leading us further away from direct sensory experiences. Modernist architecture and design has attempted to banish all odors through new finishes, air control systems, and antiseptic surfaces, our digital future seems to hold no place for the vicissitudes of aromas, fragrances, and stink. At the same time, however, exciting new science is exploring the ways in which scent stimulates cognition, memory, and the production of experience.

It’s interesting to look at the ways in which we have engineered scent out of our lives, and when we do try to reinsert it, it is in gaudy, obnoxious, or un-subtle ways. There’s very little room between unscented—and hence, olfactorily sterile—environments and those that are over-perfumed. It seems as if there is too little imagination or creativity when it comes to thinking through ways in which we can enhance our olfactory environment without overwhelming it.

Smells tend to be used to hide, not reveal. But there’s a lot of potential for use of scent that’s functionalized to reveal, signaling things like danger, sustainability, quality in food. What would happen if it just smelled like oxygen, or water, or rain? Nearly invisible and yet somehow more redolent of scents we encounter in our everyday lives outside of engineered environments.
" (extracted from SEED - article wrote by Eva Wisten).

Comments: + Q Perfume Blog has noticed that here in Brazil, fragrances have been used and spread in public environments (such as shopping Malls) with no criteria whatsoever. We Brazilians are over exposed by too many perfumes at the same time, and in a intensity that is insane. In the end, shops are using this tool that should be olfactive logos, as bad perfumes composed with cheap scents. And instead of making us feel better and inspired and come back for more, they make me want to pilk. A whiff of bad taste spread in major quantities is what I call this. ...Not to mention the new trend in Brazil of trying to make banks as sterile as hospitals. The cleaning companies are spreading chlorine bleach and other products to clean the bank branches. Besides being dangerous, the idea of killing germs and make the place sterile is ridiculous! Not to mention the awful smell!! I wonder what would happen if someone would spread in banks the fragrance of wealth and financial security instead.... to make us have the impression we are getting richer somehow... :-)

I will like to bring here ( and I will bring it) for my readers to enjoy, the life history of the real Brazilian Empress of Scents - Mrs. Giovanna Kupfer. She was the precursor of olfactive logos and olfactive marketing in the 70's, and also the nose responsible for the most successful Brazilian perfume of all times. But this is an entire article to write & publish soon, exclusively!

Susana Soares - BEE'S PROJECT

Unfortunately here in Brazil we are not even close to start discussing these matters. I really wish I could have attended this symposium because I am always very interested in projects off-bottle!

Using fragrances to create moods, atmospheres, to be used as an extension to home design (very attractive idea), to recognize diseases, to make a ballet or opera a wonderful experience, branding with fragrances, etc... To express one's personality not only by the choice of furniture, fabrics and the colors chosen for a home, but also with fragrances. This is a concept that has to be explored at it's full potential by interior designers and architects. This bloger has been interviewed by a magazine specialized by home and gardening design this month to talk exactly about this ideas. I hope this article will bring to more light/knowledge to the subject in this country. [Soon you will be able to read the article :-)].

Projects like HEAD SPACING for design, projects such as the ones developed by Sissel Toolas, Susana Soares, Christopher Laudamiel, Pierre Bénard, Giovanna Kupfer, etc... they are the future of scent application. They are our olfactive future! They will be always brought by me, after all, I am much more than perfume!

Click HERE to read the entire article in SEED magazine to fully understand the proposal.

* this term is an invention/term proposed by this blog and it belongs to its creator!


HaraldHVogt said...

You are making a good point. A lot of stores/banks/environments are made to smell without any regards of the customer and people who work in these environments. The choice of scent is often suggested by the providers of the delivery technology (not that there is anything wrong with it) and not by a marketer or a perfumer. The reason being that there is little education on the subject and little knowledge of what can be done and how it should be done. Here is where marketers and their agency need to learn.
Also, when cost becomes a concern the tendency is to go for a "not so good" scent rather than a professionally made one. Why it is easy to tell the quality of a "cheap" scent, it is not that easy to guarantee that it's components are safe and adhere to the rules & regulations that apply to anything you would put on your skin.
On both levels, education& information as well as industry standards, we have taken a firm stand in making sure that marketers not only know why to use scent for marketing and branding but also how to do it correctly.
You mentioned that some scents are too strong: Picture you working in a scented environment. Tests have shown that after about 20 minutes you are loosing the awareness of scent in your environment. So it is only natural to "crank it up" and again, and again until you end up with a too high intensity. At least for someone who walks in from the street.
Harald H. Vogt
Scent Marketing Institute, New York


Harald I am so happy and so thankful for you being here!
Yes you are 100% right.
I am passionate for fragrances, but somehow I enter to some shopping malls/shops in São Paulo and I become out of breath! The fragrances of the shop are mixing with the general fragrance spread in the mall itself.
Only a few brands are really using the olfactive logo as a tool to sell such as Osklen, Side Walk, Anne Anne and Cinemark.
Most of the rest is just giving the message "come in here and get a huge asthma crisis".
I think it would be precious for you to meet Mrs. Giovanna Kupfer in NYC.
This blog will be posting a lot about this subject now that I found your Institute!

Fragrance Perfume said...

Its absolutely fantastic effort, i like it very much. I am so happy and so thankful for this post.

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