Scents affect our lives much more than we think. Jolin Lee headed down to Singapore to experience Aēsop’s unique scent experience.
An evocative scent has the ability to link memories, specific moments and emotions. It opens up the passageway of memories and presents an opportunity to relive moments again.
In August, a two-week scent experience was created by Aēsop in conjunction with Singapore Night Festival’s 10th Anniversary. The title, ‘Nostos: Records of the Self ’, takes inspiration from the Greek word nostos, which means ‘homecoming’ or ‘return’, and the Greek word algos, meaning ‘ache’. These words together form ‘nostalgia’ – a perfect representation of the intrinsic link between scent and memory.
The exhibition of scent and moment was initiated by light, used to heat the essential oils – bergamot, sandalwood and olibanum – being stored in 10 handcrafted steel wells. The scent travelled through the space, creating an environment that invited respite and reflection.
“An anniversary is a moment to reflect, and this experience pauses on the connection between scent and memory,” said Marsha Meredith, Aēsop’s creative director.
1 How did the collaboration between Aēsop and Singapore Night Festival come about?
“Aēsop has always supported worldwide arts, culture and heritage. When the opportunity came to collaborate with the Singapore Night Festival, we welcomed it with open arms. Another reason for this collaboration is the conducive location. Gallery 10 is where the traditionally binary ideas of art and science are both celebrated and deconstructed. The inspiration behind Gallery 10 fits our creative intent for this scent experience. Atmospheric sounds, representing memory, heighten the sensorial experience of an intimate journey comprising handcrafted steel wells, light and scent – an incidental outcome of our methodology of using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients in our formulations.”
2 In what way does the presence of scent influence everyday life?
“Unbeknownst to many, scent plays a significant role in everyday life. It has the power to evoke multiple emotions and leave an everlasting imprint in the mind. That is why we strive to achieve the perfect balance of ingredients in our products, to leave an indelible mark on the user’s consciousness.”
3 What inspired this sensory installation?
“We wanted to make Singapore Night Festival an evocative sensory experience. By creating a scent experience, we harnessed the scent generated by light to create an intimate journey of respite and reflection. The experience at the festival is very unique, with the sensory installation designed in a manner that will allow the fragrance to linger in the minds of visitors.”
4 A unique scent was used throughout the festival. What went into the making of it and how were the key notes selected?
“When we create a specific product, we always take into account the benefits of the ingredients on the user’s skin and hair, as well as the aromas that they produce. The key notes selected for this scent are bergamot, sandalwood and olibanum. These essential oils are frequently used in our products, thus infusing the festival with the signature Aēsop scent.”
Marsha Meredith, creative director of Aēsop