DESIGNING WITH SMELL: Practices, Techniques and Challenges


The much-anticipated book from Routledge, DESIGNING WITH SMELL: Practices, Techniques And Challenges, will come out in hardcover on the 8th of April, 2017, and is currently available for pre-order:

Designing with Smell aims to inspire readers to actively consider smell in their work through the inclusion of case studies from around the world, highlighting the current use of smell in different cutting-edge design and artistic practices. The book provides practical guidance regarding different equipment, techniques, stages and challenges which might be encountered as part of this process.

Designing with Smell emphasizes spatial design in numerous forms and interpretations – in the street, the studio, the theatre or exhibition space, as well as the representation of spatial relationships with smell. The book includes some of the leading academics in the field, working with, or thinking about, smell in spatial design in some way, originating across different geographical areas, academic disciplines and professions. It is crucial reading for students, academics and practitioners working in olfactory design.

The book, which was initiated by the late Victoria Henshaw, was continued in her memory by Kate McLean, Dominic Medway, Chris Perkins, and Gary Warnaby as editors. It includes a chapter by SCI founders, Ashraf Osman, Claus Noppeney and Nada Endrissat, titled “CULTURALIZING SCENT: Current Steps towards Integrating the Sense of Smell in Art and Design Education”. The book also includes contributions by Peter de Cupere, Caro Verbeek, Brian Goeltzenleuchter, Debra Riley Parr, and many others.

Image: Smoke Cloud by Peter de Cupere


The Art and Olfaction Awards Announces Judges, Opens Submissions

An international panel heralds an ongoing commitment to dialogue and community in global independent perfumery.

Continuing its commitment to broadening global communication in our field, the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO) is delighted to announce that the fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards (AOA) events will take place in Europe: the twenty-five shortlisted perfumes and projects will be announced at Esxence in Milan (March 2017), and the five winners will be announced in a public ceremony in Berlin, on May 6, 2017.

Submissions for the awards are open to independent and artisan perfume brands, and experimental practitioners with scent from all countries. Submissions opened on October 5th, 2016 and close on November 28th, 2016 at 11:59pm (PST).


In addition to this, the IAO-AOA has expanded the panel of expert judges to better represent the global community it serves. 2017’s judges include Michael Edwards (UK/Australia), Luca Turin (Greece), Christophe Laudamiel (USA), Annick Le Guérer (France), Katie Puckrik (England), Mandy Aftel (USA), Sarah Horowitz-Thran (USA), Andy Tauer (Switzerland), Helder Suffenplan (Germany), Denyse Beaulieu (France), Mark Behnke (USA), Matthias Janke (Germany), Steven Gontarski (USA), Antonio Gardoni (Italy), Ashley Eden Kessler (USA), Bruno Fazzolari (USA), Dana El Masri (Canada), Harald Lubner (Germany), Sherri Sebastian (USA), Yvettra Grantham (USA), Ashraf Osman (Switzerland), Caro Verbeek (The Netherlands), Kaya Sorhaindo (Germany/USA), Kóan Jeff Baysa (USA), Matthias Tabert (USA), Simon Niedenthal (Sweden), with several more to be announced.

The IAO-AOA also continues its research collaboration with us, sharing submission data with Dr. Claus Noppeney at the Scent Culture Institute (in affiliation with Bern University of Applied Sciences), who is collecting data over the course of several years to promote the artisan and independent perfume world through considered research. The data created by the AOA will partly be used for academic research purposes and for further developing the Awards. The anonymous results may be made available in publications and at industry events. (If you do not want to participate in this research, you may tick the ‘do not participate’ box in the submission form.)

Learn more at artandolfactionawards.org


About the Art and Olfaction Awards
Awarded to just four perfumes and one experimental project a year, The Art and Olfaction Award is designed to raise interest and awareness for independent and artisan perfumers – and experimental practitioners with scent – from all countries. By shining a spotlight on perfumery’s most outstanding creators, we hope to help generate support for independent practices in perfumery as a whole. The Art and Olfaction Awards are a program of The Institute for Art and Olfaction, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, USA.


“It’s in the Air!” Olfactory Art News

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The Geneva newspaper, Le Courrier, has published an article by Samuel Schellenberg on olfactory art, C’est dans l’air!, which features the Scent Culture Institute and our Kunstmuseum Thun series, as well as olfactory artist Peter de Cupere, Mike Bouche’s “The Zurich Load” at Manifesta 11, and Museum Tinguely‘s “Belle Haleine: The Scent of Art“.


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The article comes with a companion piece, «Une odeur distincte, légèrement écœurante», which asks a number of personalities from the world of contemporary art about memorable works of olfactory art, including: Andrea Bellini, Director of the Contemporary Art Center of Geneva; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London and international Swiss curator; Chantal Prod’Hom, MuDAC director of the Museum of Design and Contemporary Applied Arts in Lausanne; Bernard Fibicher, Director of the Lausanne Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts; Florence Grivel, RTS journalist and art critic; Lionel Bovier, Director of Mamco; and artist Gianni Motti.


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Talk, Wine & Swiss Cheese at the Institute of Art and Olfaction


In June 2014 the Institute of Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles organized and hosted an informal talk and discussion with Claus Noppeney. He presented insights from the current  projects at Bern. The slide on the photo is taken from a recent study by Beniamino Aloise, Lucas Heusser and Jasmin Rehmann from Bern University of Applied Sciences who, as part of their Master in Business Administration, studied offices as olfactory space.

The stay at Los Angeles was also an opportunity to be present at the remarkable exhibition at the Santa Monica Museum of Art (SMMoA) by Brian Goeltzenleuchter, artist in residence at the Institute of Art and Olfaction.

Interview: Molecular Brand Competition

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DASH, the London-based illustrated magazine on fashion and fashion art, published an interview with Claus Noppeney (Autumn / Winter 2013 Issue): ”Olfactory Ontologies“ follows from a longer discussion with Stephen Fortune, an interactive media artist and science editor from London. The interview illuminates the inner workings of the sense of smell. In addition it also addresses the responsibility for organizing the aesthetic sense of smell. Claus Noppeney refers to Abercrombie & Fitch or Lush and the public controversies on extensive scent marketing. These prominent cases might even illustrate a form of brand competition that unfolds at a molecular level: Volatile molecules are instrumental in getting into the protected geographies of competitors.

What the Scent Culture Institute can offer the Perfume Industry


At the World Perfumery Congress 2014 in Deauville, Claus Noppeney gave a presentation on the value of management research for the perfume industry. Based on the research projects at Bern University of Applied Sciences he argued that the development of new scents is above all an organizational process that involves the collaboration across disciplines, organizations and the senses. The rise of niche perfumery demonstrates that design-driven, cultural and aesthetic innovation is gaining importance. These non-technical types of innovation hardly follow from the development of new ingredients or technical deliveries. Instead, it is a result of organizing practices known from the creative industries. In fact, it is high time to expand the notion of innovation. A closer collaboration with management and design research is a first step to provide the perfume industry with fresh and informed insights on processes and practices in the industry. This will “open new avenues and complement the programs on ingredients and technical delivery” as Perfumer & Flavorist summarized the presentation.

Culturalizing Scent in China

The strategic partnership of Bern University of the Arts and Tongji University in Shanghai was the context for a seminar at the College of Arts and Media at Tongji on “Culturalizing Scent“ with Claus Noppeney in November. The delegation including Prof. Jürg Neuenschwander and Jingting Hu from Swissnex China was warmly welcomed by Prof. Hua Dong, Dean of the College of Arts and Media at Tongji University.


The seminar with faculty and students was also an opportunity to promote the upcoming Y Think Tank New Materiality & Beyond. Because of its ephemeral materiality, scent will be one of the main topics of this three day conference crossing between various disciplines, professions and ways of thinking.

Expanding the sensorium: Smell in Art & Design Education

The Lucerne School of Art and Design is the oldest college of art and design in German-speaking Switzerland. In fact, it is celebrating the 140th anniversary of its foundation throughout this academic year. Thus, the school reflects on the history and prospects of art and design education and organizes a sequence of keynote lectures titled: €Craftsmen and Visionaries: Art and Design Education between Social Responsibility and Freedom. In this context, Claus Noppeney has been invited to explore olfaction as an innovative field in art and design (education). Being strongly rooted in craftsmanship, traditional perfumery takes a cultural turn. Innovative products and services (see the Scent Culture Blog) show how the sense of smell steadily becomes a design parameter.  Moreover, the olfactory dimension is increasingly part of contemporary artistic practices. On 25 November 2015, Claus Noppeney will share some visionary ideas on the role of the sense of smell in the creative economy and discuss with Giaco Schiesser recent developments on the landscape of higher art and design education.

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Click image to view PDF: Ringvorlesung Symposium 2015

A Nose for Innovation: A Bernese Tradition?

The city of Bern runs a lively blog that monthly discusses business related issues in the economic area of the Swiss capital. Through it, a diverse selection of people from business, culture, civil service and society engage in public discourse. In this context, Claus Noppeney identifies “olfactory milestones” in the remarkable history of the city and shows how this tradition leads to current product innovation.

In his groundbreaking history of the sense of smell, The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination,  Alain Corbin identifies Bern as an early innovator in the domain of smells: it was one of the first cities to effectively introduce smell related public health measures in the 18th century. As such, one can speak of Bern as an inventor of public odor management. In fact, Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier remarked about the “fragrant air” of Bern, and the city became a role model for Paris.

In our times, Bern is the home of a hidden champion in the Swiss economy that demonstrates the innovative potential of the sense of smell. In fact, the Swiss manufacturer Swiss Tools, internationally known among craft professionals, scents its classic screw drivers. This is definetly not just a fancy gimmick. Instead, the decent vanilla scent prevents the common rotten smell one knows from common decomposition processes. Eva Jaisli, CEO, sums it up: “The smell is part of the quality and performance.”

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