Wednesday, 10 September 2014


“Just like architecture, scents envelop the users, and are experienced in 3D in the brain. They always influence the perception of a place. Usually, if not designed properly or not designed at all, a place will not smell as intended. Just like white paint, even fresh air should be attended and designed.  White is not the color of nothing, or the absence of color, white is a precisely designed combination of colors. Similarly scent designers design the feel-clean, or feel-good, or feel-small or feel-vast sensations.” - Christophe Laudamiel

You have until November 2014 to take your nostrils to Venice, Italy. Five scent sculptures designed by Master Perfumer Christophe Laudamiel are part of “OfficeUS”, the US Pavilion exhibition at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale (Giardini) currated by Rem Koolhaas. The scent element inviting architects and the public to re-think the air. I feel truly excited and honoured having assisted Mr. Laudamiel in this installation.

The five “scent atmospheres” bring olfactory dimension to different periods of the last century of American architecture abroad, work being exhibited at OfficeUS. This installation is an important step for the inclusion of olfaction in the understanding of spaces, where the engagement of our sense of smell enhances the engagement with the architecture landscape.

How do scents help travel the architecture century? In the air design of OfficeUS, Laudamiel has used the language of scents in different ways.
Like a designer with a pen, scent can “simply” portray a specific environment, in a sort of “olfactory translation” of a physical space. At the same time it can also represent something completely different from what we experience, say the materials and colours for instance, thus balancing the perception we get from a specific architectural style. 

As we progress through the U-shaped building, we can “observe” ourselves and the daily actions we take today within an enclosed environment: laying on the sofa provided in the central room, the scent sculpture makes us "smell the way we live and work” nowadays.

Moving next into the new millenium as the exhibition continues, scents design unknown spaces to inhabit: "SpaceWood 40SUS was created to show that scent is not only about memory:  a scent can also be abstract, help create forward-thinking ideas or help project into the future."

Lastly, the attention is on food-related environments: "Commonly avoided for scent design, yet, apart from the preparation table of a kitchen, food places (restaurants, big or large, bars etc…) often contain smells not appropriate for their elegance, or for the activity inside..." Here Laudamiel uses a scent player showing how we can send a “freshly squeezed lemon onto the walls". 

To view scent sculptures and feel a building: (Copyfree)2014 Les Christophs

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