Do you remember the smell and feeling after getting off a long flight? It’s that moment when the doors open and you realise your holiday is about to start, experiencing that sudden breeze of hot air on your face. It’s usually a complete 180 of how you feel while airborne, trying to avoid crying babies and smelly fellow passengers. Now imagine you’re getting off that same plane, but instead of another country, you’re on another planet. What would that smell like?
This is exactly what Bompas&Parr were wondering when they got invited to create an otherworldly scent expedition. Together with a sculptor and a team of perfumers, chemists and astronomers (it took a village!) they created their “Scents of another world”, a series of planet-like sculptures based on our solar system. Researchers have visited (albeit through satelites or telescopes) numerous planets to measure air quality and document specific characteristics of each planet. These findings are all in some way incorporated in the scent design of each planet.
When you entered the room, it was like stepping foot in a planetarium. The planets were rendered and sculpted by artist Lucy Hardcastle, and of course, each planet had its specific smell. But aside from smell, the celestial bodies were also equipped with a soundscape, which made for the ultimate sensory trigger, combining smell, sight, touch and sound. If only they’d served some extra-terrestrial bits & bites, it would’ve made for that ultimate sensory stimulation.
We can’t imagine the clouds of sulphuric acid that surround Venus to smell very nice. However, Bompas&Parr didn’t literally copy/paste the toxic smells, but merely drew inspiration from each planet’s supposed atomic makeup. This galactic deep dive was only made possible because different disciplines came together and worked towards a common goal. At MARE we strongly believe in the power of an interdisciplinary approach, as this is wat it takes to truly deliver an otherworldly experience nowadays.
If you want to check out some of the other project Bompas&Parr have launched, be sure to check out their website or read about breathable alcohol in one of our previous entries. Stay tuned for our next article, in which we’ll take another look at ASMR. To conclude our space trip and quote a legend: “To infinity… and beyond!”.