For her master’s project at Central Saint Martins (CSM) College of Art and Design, Amy Radcliffe created a prototype of a tabletop device, called the Madeleine, that captures and stores (ideally pleasant) odors. It works by placing a funnel over the scented object, from which a pump sucks the enclosed air across a special trap that collects the particles that make up the scent. The trap would then be sent to a processing lab, which would then return vials of artificially recreated scent to the user along with a bronze disk engraved with the formula.
What’s the Big Idea?
Radcliffe sees her project as the olfactory version of today’s incessant image recording. “We take pictures of everything and load it all online, to the point where it is all infinitely replicable and disposable…[Smell] is the sense we react to most instinctively, and the furthest away from being stored or replicated digitally.” She adds that the scents recorded “could be anything from the smell of your old house to sniff when you’re feeling homesick, to the scent of a missed relative or partner.” Her take on “scentography” has been shortlisted for the school’s Nova Award.