Sensory Overload

IMG_4941There’s a show at the Museum Of Art and Design on Columbus Circle devoted entirely to the art behind creating some of the world’s most famous perfumes.  A large minimal room is filled with space age looking devices that dispense the aroma of the scent.  You lean in to each device, placing your head inside and suddenly the aroma is dispensed and strangely everywhere.  You begin by smelling the first superstar perfume, Jicky created in 1889 by Aimé Guerlain and go on to smell a total of 12 perfumes spanning more than a century.  Together these 12 famous scents sum up the progression of modern perfume.

As your nose takes you from Chanel No.5 (created in 1921)  through L’Eau d’Issey (1992) to Prada Amber (2003) and on, your senses become wonderfully overloaded.  While your olfactory senses guide you to each smelling station, high-tech IMG_4935projections appear on the wall suddenly explaining the scent you are about to smell, with details including ingredients and how each particular scent changed and moved the art forward.

At the end of this wonderful exhibition designed by star architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, you arrive at an interactive salon .  It is here you get to smell, play and experiment with each of the perfumes in the exhibition.  An expert is on hand to discuss scent and a creative discussion usually breaks out.  When we were there, we found ourselves spending ages chatting with complete strangers about our likes and dislikes of each and every scent.

The Art Of Scent. 1889-2012. Museum of Art And Design. 2 Columbus Circle. New York. NY. 10019. Tel: 212 299 7777 Through March 3rd, 2013

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