Scent and design symposium highlights collaboration benefits

By Leah Armstrong

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Fragrance industry Perfume Iff

A unique event exploring the concept of scent as a ‘new territory for design’ took place last month in New York, bringing together leading creatives, students, scientists and experts from the fragrance industry.

Called ‘Headspace’, the symposium was organised by Parson’s The New School for Design, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF).

Panellists from the fragrance industry included IFF Senior Perfumer Carlos Benaim. Also present was neurobiologist Leslie Voshall, architect Toshiko Mori and designer Susanna Soares.

‘A transdisciplinary event’

Veronique Ferval, creative centre manager at IFF, told USA that the day had been a great success.

We received exceptional feedback from the participants, within the fragrance industry, but also outside, who found that the day was a unique experience, very educational but also very entertaining,” ​she said.

Ferval said the symposium had helped to ‘demystify’ the fragrance world to designers, and showed them that scent could be used as an aspect of their design.

We have a breadth of resources they can access to bring a new dimension to their design work,”​ she added.

By putting scientists, designers and architects in contact with one another, Ferval said that the event would be sure to have positive effects on the fragrance industry, giving these experts an opportunity to ‘step outside their day-to-day and stretch their work.’

According to Ferval, IFF also learnt a lot from the day. “The contact with designers who are not working with scent brought a fresh approach to our industry and highlighted areas that we had forgotten. It reminded us of the more magical, philanthropic benefits and powers of scent, how it can change people’s moods and behaviour​,” she explained.

Affirms close bond between fragrance and fashion

This is not the first time IFF has shown itself to be keen to engage with young creatives and designers. In June last year the company showcased its second collaboration with the French National School for Decorative Arts (ENSAD).

Ferval said this effort to interact and share with both established designers and students helps the company to keep its finger on the pulse concerning emerging trends.

She also highlighted that “the interaction between perfumers and designers generates new ideas that could not have come from either of them alone,” ​underlining the event’s positive impact on innovation.

IFF has shown a strong commitment to strengthening the bond between the fashion and fragrance industries. Previous fragrances (such as Dior Homme) came from a collaboration between Dior’s Hedi Slimane and Olivier Polge for Visionaire Scent. Ferval said that this is a tradition the IFF is keen to continue.

IFF is a large company with global reach and entrepreneurial spirit,”​ she stated. “The Headspace symposium positioned IFF as the leading company in terms of scent exploration and innovation.”

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