This week, LS:N Global visited Selfridges to experience the Fragrance Lab, created by Selfridges in partnership with trend forecasting consultancy The Future Laboratory, design studio Campaign and perfumers Givaudan.
‘Fragrance Lab has been designed to do two things: to help you explore the outer reaches of scent, and to offer a product tailored to your personality, behaviour and mindset – your essence distilled into a scent,’ says Chris Sanderson, CEO of The Future Laboratory. ‘The future of retailing will be less about choice, and more about selection. In Fragrance Lab, we’re inviting each visitor to be part of an experiment, putting this to the test.’
Nestled in the Wonder Room of the ground floor, the Fragrance Lab is a white space that feels at once dreamy and futuristic. In the waiting room, ‘lab technicians’ in white coats welcome guests and direct them to a selection of iPads on white stands, where they are asked to answer a series of questions that will help profile their personality. Visitors choose from a series of images and statements.
After completing the questionnaire, guests don a pair of white headsets and a voice guides them through the rest of the experience. Ascending a staircase to begin, each guest moves through a series of Selfridges windows where they experience various objects, fragrances and sensations. Activities include opening mystery drawers, selecting an object that speaks to him or her and standing in a scented breeze. All the while, the narrator, or ‘shopkeeper’, maintains a meditative tone, accompanied by a soundtrack that includes the sound of the sea.
Visitors finally emerge into a surreal, calming space decorated with sand, white plinths and cooper containers that curve up to reveal different ingredients, including geodes, petals and small glass spheres. Then guests are ushered into a private silver-coloured room, where their scent is revealed by the lab assistant. Finally, they walk through the lab itself, decorated with beakers full of perfume ingredients, and back to the waiting room, where they are presented with their scent in a tailored bottle. Each bottle and label differs depending on the person’s personality – from a white bottle with a bright green label to a classic glass bottle with a cursive label.