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HEADsPACE is a research project and a symposium on scent and design. Parsons new school of design and Moma (NY) teamed up with IFF (international flavours and fragrances) to create a symposium on the conception, impact, and potential applications of scent. This event gathers leading thinkers, designers, scientists, artists, established perfumers as well as “accidental perfumers” (a selection of architects, designers, and chefs invited to experiment with scent) to acknowledge scent as a new territory for design and begin to draft the outline of this new practice.

For this event I have been asked to become an ‘accidental perfumer’, collaborate with the experts of IFF and explore the field of scent and design. Although designers think of many things when creating a product, scent is many times overlooked. The presentation below shows the experiments I have done with the studio and in collaboration with IFF in Hilversum (NL)

The projects have been presented on 26/3/2010 at the HEADsPACE symposium in NY.

The main angle of interest for us was to explore the border between scents and flavours. IFF is a company that creates scents as well as flavours. In reality the scent and flavour departments are physically parted. This is to avoid contamination. I got interested in finding the thin balance between a scent and a flavour. For example, wood can smell delicious but is in fact inedible. So is tomato-leaf. In this project we tried to develop eating utensils imbued with a fragrance that smells edible but in reality is not. Tomato-leaf, for example is poisonous. In order to actually make these eating utensils food-safe we eventually had to work with flavours in stead of fragrances. Because the flavours act as fragrances I ‘invented’ a new word FLAGRANCE.

(Being an unconcerned Dutch native not realising that the word already exists in English language meaning Conspicuously bad, offensive, or reprehensible 🙂

The slides in the presentation below show literal excerpts of e-mail conversations between me, my interns, IFF and the founders of the HEADsPACE symposium. At the symposium we served every member of the audience two samples of yoghurt. One with grass flavour and one with cedar wood flavour. For some people the cedar- yoghurt would bring them back to their primary school years where they chewed on colouring pencils (made from cedar wood) For others, the grass yoghurt had a strong memory retrieving effect of various sorts.

For the cocktail party after the symposium we developed wood-flavoured cotton candy on a stick of licorice-wood.

We want to thank Bernardo Flemming and Caroline Korsten of IFF Hilversum for all their support.



Experience, Installation, Product

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