Blasted: A Delusional Illusion
Back in 1870 William Penhaligon was inspired by the aromas of his neighbouring Turkish baths and went on to “bottle” his first scent called “Hammam Bouquet”. 145 years on, in order to celebrate the launch of the two new perfumes “Blasted Heath” and “Blasted Bloom”, Space Group Architects strive to do the opposite: This time the perfumes get re-interpreted into something else. Space Group have analysed the two products and designed two spaces based on their aromas – a built interpretation of a smell. The scents are influenced by the British coastline and come with an array of raw and natural notes.
The installation is meant to be experienced both from the in and outside, blurring the boundaries between Regent Street and the shop interior. In order to achieve that Space Group are collaborating with the musicians Fennesz, Mia Zabelka and Oliver Stummer (a.k.a. Tomoroh Hidari) and the natural media based artist Aurelia McKelvey.
The results are two immersive, multi-sensory spaces that create an abstracted illusion of the very characteristics of the aromas and their environment that they were inspired by. They include rain, mist, moss, bark, light, sound and, obviously, the actual fragrances. The created spaces proved to be quite a challenge: There is live moss, programmed artificial fog and water running down permanently on the inside of the façade. All of which had to be mocked up, tested and carefully fine-tuned.