This one day event really intrigued me because as an interior designer, we are taught materiality, space planning, building code, but no where in our education did aromas and how an environment can seem different just by infusing a smell into the equation.
Situated in the ground floor lobby of the Oben Flats, presented The Scent Bar. The experience started off at the far right side of the island where four glass domes were located. Perfumer Tracy Pepe, like a magician revealing a trick, lifted each dome, where we smelled different Lavender scents. This was to give us a quick education in scent intensity, the difference in geographical scents, and the subtle nature of what some pure smells like as opposed to the typical concoctions found in the market place which have high levels of alcohol, solvents and treatments.
Next we moved on to the eight accords. These are aromas which Tracy created to match eight different colours. What was surprising, is that she matched each colour perfectly to a fragrance. I was able to smell, green, orange, berry, yellow, blue, grey, pink and violet for the first time in my life. It was an experience difficult to explain, because it brings you to a difference place. And it’s that instant moment where you mind is taken away, that she is able to conjure up for interior designers, architects, spaces and brands to shape the way you experience a space. It was magical.
Next, after our noses were able to establish a baseline for colour and scent. Tracy brought us to the end of the table where she crafted specific blends for several large brands. Each aroma, had a purpose for each client. For example, Intercontinental Hotel wanted to tell their story through a scent. After it was blended, the fragrance was so well received that they decided to put it in their hotel rooms for guests. While, Samsung wanted a millennium scent for their retail stores so a younger generation would stay in their stores and play with their phones. And good ol’Trump, wanted his hotels to smell like champagne and caviar.
She told us that she gets brought into the process at all different times. Sometimes it is when the drywall is in place. Sometimes, it’s after the space is completed. What she stressed was that the regulatory process she goes through is very thorough. She understands that hundreds of thousands of people will be exposed to these scents and they have to comply with all the codes before it gets approved into the building systems. Tracy also let us know that she is different from other brands like Lush or Febreze because her scents are pure and don’t contain all the additional alcohol and solvents which are added to the majority of these products.
This idea of creating an olfactory advantage is really intriguing and makes me think of all the spaces I’ve been in that might have been enhanced with this method to make me do something that I was not conscious off.
This custom scent design is complex yet defined, the curating process required many variations with a design schedule of ten months.
Open flats accord begins with a whimsical blend of Ultra Marine Blue, a signature accord found in the Whiff Collection. Fragrant notes of bergamot and mandarin mix with salt, mimosa and water lily. The accord is selectively infused with seaweed and bleach wood.
The signature of this fragrant gem is found in the lavender imported Provence, France, Leather notes play together with the top accord creating a unique vibration , soft, welcoming that suggests, “Stay awhile, this is living.”
True to apothecary blending, a twist of mandarin and lime essential oils are added creating an intoxicating aroma that is light, yet pleasant.