Sculpting Scent: Laboratory Perfumes is transforming fragrances into sculptures

Photography credit: Alberto Lamback

This September as part of London Design Week 2016, London-based fragrance maker Laboratory Perfumes is transforming the way consumers think and feel when it comes to scent. The perfume maker has been working with artist Zuza Mengham to translate scent into solid form.

To celebrate the launch of the brand’s fifth scent, Atlas (a blend of pipe tobacco, rum, hay, vanilla and cognac) the perfume maker is opening a ‘Sculpting Scent’ exhibition at The Conran Shop in London, as part of design week.

For the exhibition, artist and designer Zuza Mengham, was invited to create five unique resin sculptures that interpret the brand’s fragrance range (Amber, Gorse, Samphire,  Tonk and now, Atlas) into colourful and alluring sculptures that will be on display and for sale during the exhibition.


The collaboration came about last December, when Laboratory Perfumes founder Aaron Firth was on the lookout for artists who were able to represent the nuances of scent but in a visual form. He discovered Mengham’s unique prism sculptures, and she was asked to explore the concept further with all five scents.


Tonka and Amber, Zuza Mengham | Photography by Ilka & Franz

Tonka and Amber, Zuza Mengham | Photography by Ilka & Franz

This is the latest collaboration we’re seeing in the world of experiential retail. Earlier this year the world’s first colour changing flower shop opened in London with experiential entertainers Bompas & Parr transforming simple flowers into a series of  colour-changing single stems, as well as workshops where consumers were invited to paint the stems with liquid crystal dye. The appeal of this type of retail collaboration? It offers the consumer more, as their retail experience becomes more like entertainment, more fun, larger than life, plus they get more bang for their buck. It also helps the retailer to increase footfall and the creative involved to explore new dynamic ways of working.

Speaking about her role within the scent collaboration, artist Zuza Mengham said:  “I made a conscious decision not to read the descriptions, but to smell them all and see what I could decipher from them first directly, taking notes and ideas. After I matched them up with their descriptions I made a series of drawings with watercolour overlays, building up the colours and patterns until I was happy they translated in a way that felt appropriate.”

The sculptures are displayed in The Conran shop on Marylebone High Street for two weeks from 15 to 25 September, as part of the London Design Festival 2016.

SENSORIAL DESIGN: WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors subscribers can read more about mysticism, wellness and the role of colour in awakening all of the senses in the Experience Design report, Sensorial Wellness. Sound good? Join WGSN.

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