Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Surprise Surprise


It's a problem for many a fragrance-wearer – you trial and trial vial by vial until you find that one scent that is totally you. It smells great in the beginning, the middle, and at the distant end of the day. You even get compliments when you wear it.

But then, this cruel phenomenon of odor detection takes over. It's called nose fatigue, and the way it works is that the more you smell something, the less you smell it. It's the reason Febreeze didn't work in its first instantiation as a deodorizer (people can't smell when their own house needs deodorizing) and it's the reason people tend to bath themselves in their own perfume.

It does make sense, and is similar to the fact that you don't always hear your refrigerator buzzing, or a clock ticking (do people still have ticking clocks in their house anymore?). You also don't see the mess of bills that has all but hidden your kitchen table (do people still get paper bills?).

It's all about bandwidth, a word which has expanded its definition to now refer to "attention span." We don't have the bandwidth to notice every stimulus that wiggles our receptors.

But there is a product that aims to sidestep this problem. They devised a snappy marketing product at last year's Consumer Electronics Show in the form of an advent calendar. The idea is to first offer you a bunch of scents, to establish a preference profile. That's the 25 Days of Christmas part.

In this video, a reporter from the BBC samples the advent calendar. It's ironic how he smells all two-dozen scent tabs at once to gauge his "scent profile," because that generates a lot of nose-noise, making it hard to gauge preference. Hence the clever marketing approach to package it as an advent calendar, which is meant to spread the sniffs out over many days.

The real value comes from their smart-diffuser, which combines your preferences in differing amounts to provide you with a dynamic environmental aromacloud that doesn't negate its own signal over time. Every day is a surprise!



Notes:
CINQ makes intelligent fragrance diffusers that allow you to mix and match from 5 pre-filled fragrance capsules to create your own Personal Fragrance Profile - the combinations allow you to design combinations that have never been smelled before.

Jan 2019, BBC News

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

On the Designer's Coffeetable





I am very excited to announce a new book about scent coming out on November 26 in the EU. (February 11 in the US.)

It's called The Essence: Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance, and it's being published by Die Gestalten Verlag, who is known for their 600 books on art, architecture, design, photography and typography.

It's filled with interviews, stories and encyclopedic information from some of the most interesting and important people in the world of smell. I was also lucky enough to contribute a couple essays on the neuromechanics of smell and the smell of the human body.

Having spent the majority of my career instructing on the principles and elements of visual design, I must say, this book is a visual powerhouse.

Gestalten is perhaps the only publisher where all the editors are professional designers. And it definitely shows. From the photographs to the layout to that airtight, neo-Bauhaus, Leger-esque cover, this whole book is a barbituate-drip to the visiopathic ocd cultural consumer.

What's even better -- it's not about visual design at all; it's about the wide-open world of olfactory indulgence!

I'll let the press department take over from here:

About the Book
The empire of scent: explore the realm of perfumes, smells, and aromatic incense to reveal the enduring allure of fragrance. Scent is a hugely under-studied sense, compared with the other senses, both neurologically and psychologically.

Scents are linked with our most cherished memories of life without the ability to smell is unimaginable. The Essence: Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance contains meticulous research on the mystery of scents, profiles of those pushing the envelope of science and fantasy, and the history of a royal pursuit that have shaped the perfume industry into what it is today. From the lavender fields of Provence and the laboratories where perfumes are created, to incense producers in India.

Meet the trailblazers shaping the future of perfumery as The Essence explores the vital role that technology and scented products will play in the 21st century. A study in 2014 by researchers at the University of Lyon found that aging human stress levels were reduced and moods improved by manipulating the environment with a pleasant odor. There will be a revolution in the health and wellness industries, where a renewed focus on the conscious and subconscious power of scent has gained traction in recent years.
According to Olivia Jezler, the founder of design and fragrance innovation consultancy, Future of Smell, "Scents will be used to enhance cognition, to retain and recall information and even to control the way we feel and experience the world."
What to Expect
All you wish and need to know about the perfume and fragrance industry. Where are the scents from? Why are they so important for us? Who are they designed for and by whom? Investigates fragrance families, raw materials from different regions of the world, the chemistry of smelling, the interaction between smelling and memory.

Featuring designers, start-ups, creative artisans, and manufactories, from young independent perfumers experimenting with genuinely natural fragrances to brands developing artificial scents for their products.

Including a guide to the best perfume meccas worldwide. With essays, interviews, stories, infographics and stunning photography.
“Smell is the deepest sense, it is rooted in our limbic system. It is the old, animal part of our brain, the center where emotions rise and where memories are located."
-Wolfgang Georgsdorf, artist and founder of the Osmodrama festival in Berlin
***
The Essence: Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance, edited by Robert Klanten, founder and CEO of gestalten as well as Carla Seipp, fragrance writer, is the first publication by gestalten recognizing the world of scent and the figures who shape the field.

Find the book here on gestalten’s page, under New Releases.




Thursday, November 21, 2019

Smell Hotline




Every so often, there's an uproar from small towns in New Jersey over the smell of their local landfills. Nobody wants a landfill in their neighborhood, yet the metabolism of the anthroposphere demands we do something with all this stuff.  Landfill owners go to great lengths to keep their dumps from offgassing, but it doesn't always work. In an effort to control fugitive emissions, there's a 'bad smell hotline' for residents to log their odor experiences.
Due to its central location and excellent road network, Tinton Falls has been home to a number of solid waste and recycling facilities. In 1976, the County opened its regional landfill at Asbury Ave. and Shafto Rd. Monmouth County currently provides an annual "host community fee" of over $2,400,000 to the Borough of Tinton Falls, acting as a direct offset to local property taxes. Over $5,000,000 has been spent to date on landfill gas controls, but the nature of the landfill operation can, on occasion, lead to odor problems.
The major sources of odors are gases from the decomposing trash, and from the "fresh" trash being delivered. A sophisticated gas collection system (collected gas is then used to create electricity) is added to each new disposal area as it is developed. Negative air flow and fabric/charcoal filters are used in the receiving building to capture and minimize odors from daily trash deliveries.
“Air Quality" - Monmouth County, New Jersey's Home Page
https://co.monmouth.nj.us/page.aspx?ID=2132
And here are some of their suggestions for describing unpleasant odors:
sour, pungent
burnt rubber
ammonia
fishy
putrid, rotten
fecal, sewer
rotten eggs
sour
moldy, musty
woody, mulch smell
sulfur
chlorine
manure, farm
burnt, smoky
chemical
other


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Air Sampling Cosmopolite





He's at it again. And unfortunately, his Pollution Pods are still relevant.

British artist Michael Plinksy partnered with a fab-lab and an air doctor to re-create hyperlocal atmospheres from around the world:

 “I want people to engage with the issue of pollution viscerally"

Well it worked. The New Delhi pod is unbearable.

image source: Lauren Crothers, photographing Hong Kong protesters, 2019

Notes
Nov 2019, BBC News

Apr 2018, Architectural Digest

Conceived by artist Michael Plinksy

Built by London-based design startup Build with Hubs

Atmospheric Engineering by Danish air quality tech firm Airlabs