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Exhibition: ‘Living with Scents’ at MCD, exploring all things olfactory

Text by CLOT Magazine

Atelier Kaja Dahl by Kaja Solgaard Dahl, Tapputi and the Sea – Cape Town Edition, 2016. Glass, natural sea sponge, solid perfume. Image courtesy of Frances Marais.
Atelier Kaja Dahl by Kaja Solgaard Dahl, Tapputi and the Sea – Cape Town Edition (2016)

Guest curators Clara Muller and Elisabetta Pisu present Living with Scents, an exhibition that gives an overview of contemporary olfactory design projects and their various stakes. From industrial design to craftsmanship, from art to speculative design, the projects on display open up a multiplicity of perspectives about how we can use smell in our lives  – from the aesthetic to the functional, these beautiful, original, and useful objects are interfaces between bodies and smells, making the invisible tangible and surprisingly potent.

On view until June 5, 2022, at The Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, Living with Scents focus on objects, not just scented products, but creative and artful interfaces to deliver scents with manifold design outcomes, from the hedonic to the functional. Divided into five sections:

Ways of Sensing. Olfactory Culture(s) and ContemplationNose Meet the Eye. The Power and Beauty of Nature; The Scent of Care. Health and Well-Being; A Scented Art of Living. A New Sense of Presence and Pleasure; and Spray it, Don’t Say it. Emotion, Communication, and Memory, the exhibition highlights major dimensions, themes, and approaches to olfactory design. Several works from each section are activated, offering a unique museum-going experience based on both smell and sight.

Working with and around the sense of smell, considering its neurobiological, historical, social, and aesthetic specificities, the designers in this exhibition attempt to change how we relate to and interact with the world. With artists presenting works dedicated to the aesthetic and cultural value of scents, exploring the aesthetics of uniquely designed scent diffusers in which there is more than meets the nose, or even looking at innovative designs that introduce smells in our day-to-day environment.

Some of the names participating are Ani Liu, Monica Förster Design Studio, Nendo, Lizzie Ostrom (Odette Toilette), OVR Technology, Patrick Palcic, Susana Soares, Studio Forest & Whale by Wendy Chua and Gustavo Maggio, and studio Outofstock, among many others. 

(Image courtesy of Frances Marais)
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