Innovators in nutrition, health and beauty. Read more about our new company at dsm-firmenich.com or continue here to read more on the incredible solutions and services that we offer.
Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, is one of the most renowned and celebrated arts and design colleges in the world. Among its alumni are the Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost, rock musician Jarvis Cocker, and many fashion designers, including Kim Jones, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen.
Students of one of its courses, MA Narrative Environments, are focused on spatial stories that can be found across cultural, civic, technological, and digital spaces, and one new ‘vector’ they had not explored before was fragrance, which was why they were excited to join Firmenich in an exclusive collaboration to push the boundaries of their creativity in the scent space.
Working across spatial design, speculative design, social and systems design, the students sought to compose interactive stories to reimagine the future of fine fragrance, by developing an immersive installation that would be a sensory experience – both a vivid, creative platform and a performative event, which would explore the future of smell.
At the core of the collaboration is a mutual focus on innovation and creativity, as the challenge at the heart of the partnership between Central Saint Martins and Firmenich was to create an immersive realm that amalgamates sensation, perception, and interpretation of information. This reflects Firmenich’s vision for fine fragrance, creating a total environment no longer limited to the five senses of the human, but an all-encompassing environment in which natural and synthetic, remote, and intimate, power and submission, conscious and unconscious, mechanical and sensoriate are recomposed.
The students were asked to develop conceptual proposals for a future sensing experience that would be portable, immersive, and interactive. Concepts were based initially on eight key areas: culture and nature; machine and man; psychology and physiology; digital and analogue; convergence and divergence; science and sensation; intelligence and experience; invisible and visible.
“This exciting collaboration brings together the students’ creativity, intelligence and intuition with Firmenich expertise to highlight the power of scent. A playground and laboratory for our perfumers, the immersive sensing experience will stage the moving performance of perfume and showcase fragrance futures for clients. For us at Firmenich, the partnership injects fresh perspectives into our creative processes and amplifies younger, more diverse voices.”
Out of the projects proposed, four were selected by Firmenich for their creativity and ingenuity in imagining the sensing experience.
This installation is a playful way to meet new friends and strangers through smell, a participatory experience exploring scent as a collective sense. Through a movement exercise in an immersive environment, Air Collective allows participants to push past their ‘scent biases’ and view scent with nuance in order to embrace a new sense of collectivity.
This project, a deconstruction of fragrance’s ecological origin, had a dual purpose, in order to express simultaneously the craft of the perfumer and the brand’s commitment to the environmental crisis. Fragrances as Ecosystems deconstructs a new ecologically formulated scent by inviting visitors into the sites of its ingredient’s origins to create new understandings of the ecological sources for scent. The team created a lab experience with different ‘rooms’ such as a desert room, an ice room, and a rose garden.
A museum of olfactory histories, presents, and futures, this installation focuses on the power of smell to allow us to travel back to overlooked or forgotten parts of history by olfactory triggers and events. Using the most powerful sense–smell - Time Travel is a museum that transports us to overlooked or forgotten moments of time through smell, our most powerful sense of memory. Time Travel reminds us about what we forget and remember about the past, and how smell might shape the way we think about the future?
This installation is a banquet paying tribute to the unfamiliar scents of outer space. A banquet is usually an opulent, indulgent, and ceremonial meal where people gather to enjoy food and drink, converse and exchange culture and ideas. The team reconstructed the concept into a scent banquet, which was designed to follow the theme ‘Echoes of the Cosmos,’ leading guests through an emotive and philosophical meandering on our place in the universe through four scent-based courses. First Shoots as an appetiser, Visions of Space as a starter, Lunar Lunge as main course and Into Forever as the dessert, followed by cocktails. The idea was to create a playful, surreal way to show how people interact with smells.
Stephanie Sherman, Course Leader for MA Narrative Environments, summarised the synergy of the collaboration: “On MA Narrative Environments, we recognise the importance for advanced research in the design of narrative environments. Firmenich is renowned for its world-class research, and we are honoured to partner with them to develop and design the creative concepts exploring the future of fragrance.”