Dutch Design Week 2014: Installation recreates the smells of the past

05 : 11 : 2014 DDW14 : Sissel Tolaas : Mickaël Wiesengrün

Eindhoven – Presented at the Witte Dame building, a former Philips factory, an installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün has brought to life the smells of grease, sweat and metal that once pervaded the space.

Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün
Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün
Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün
Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün Révélateur installation by Mickaël Wiesengrün

The installation of glass tubes and beakers, Révélateur, was presented as part of the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show during Dutch Design Week. Focusing on the historical context of the location, Wiesengrün worked with Norwegian chemist and artist Sissel Tolaas to recreate the olfactory experience of a busy factory production line. 

The captured scents of grease, sweat and metal were poured into separate beakers placed at the top of the installation. Using ultrasonic vibrations, the liquids were turned into a vapour that was sucked down the tubes towards an opening, where visitors could smell the combination of aromas.

‘I wanted to use smell to provide an extra layer of information about the place and its history,’ Wiesengrün told LS:N Global. ‘It’s the smell of hard work, of the hard workers who built this place and who are indirectly why we’re here today.’ Wiesengrün and Tolaas plan to continue the project, recreating the installation for new locations.

Designers and brands are increasingly using scent not just to create pleasurable experiences, but also to reveal the history behind spaces and products. For more on Dutch Design Week, see our Show review and Design Direction report.

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