19.09.13 by Jeff

“The Housewarming” and the Incredible Art of Sissel Tolaas

The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland

At the beginning of the month Jameson invited me out to an event called “The Housewarming” a celebration of their newly renovated distillery, in Midleton, Ireland. People came from all over to join in the festivities aka drink lots of whiskey!

These two friendly people (pictured above) are David and Marina from The Gourmand, they were the first two people I met at the airport. They also happened to be the ones curating a series of creative talks for the event, and the reason I agreed to fly all the way there.

I’ve included a bunch of photos of the event (all shot by Maurice Li), as well as a re-cap of my favourite speaker at the event, below.

The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland


The Housewarming Jameson Event in Ireland

One of the speakers The Gourmand brought in was Sissel Tolaas (pictured above), a scent expert from Norway. She’s spent years collecting data with a smelling machine (I don’t know how else to describe it). She analyzes molecules that make up smells all around us, and then re-creates them in her lab.

Sissel has now amassed a collection of over 7,000 smells and is currently working with Richard Branson on his “Virgin Galactic” project. She’s in charge of creating the smell of space! Yes, outer space! So when Bieber flies out of the atmosphere, and looks out the window at the stars, he will be smelling a scent in the shuttle that she created. And when he goes back home he could have a bottle of that scent to sniff whenever he pleases, and one whiff would bring back vivid memories of his journey.

She talked about the idea of creating smells and linking them to specific things, and used the example of natural gas. Molecules are added to give it that rotten egg smell, gas has no actual odor itself. Similarly Sissel has investigated the idea of creating smells for abstract things, like fear.

For one of her art shows she gave everyone who entered the gallery a bowl of plain rice and they had to eat it as they went around smelling things. She got the idea when she saw a homeless man eating rice out front of a nice restaurant in Japan. He was eating plain rice but smelling all the good smells from the restaurant and really enjoying his rice.


berlin moma sissel

This image is from the MoMA’s website, it’s from her show “Berlin, City Smell Research”. This is a perfume made of re-created smells from North East Berlin. How brilliant is this bottle?!


berlin moma sissel

This image is also from the MoMA’s website, you can see she made perfumes for each area. The fact that there is even “North South”, and “East West” is a perfect example of her sense humour, and why I like her work so much.


Sissel Tolaas on discovering the world from the perspective of the nose. from Design Indaba on Vimeo.


I feel like I’m overloading you with a play by play of Sissel’s entire talk, but it was honestly one of the most inspiring talks I’ve ever seen. If you want to hear more just ask me in the comments. I did want to include this clip of her from earlier this year though, just so you could see what a character she is!

Finally, thank-you to Jameson for the invite to the event. I left completely inspired, and only wish I had more time to actually see Ireland. I guess I’ll have to go back.



Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • MaxHase

    one issue of mono.kultur is about her.
    including some pages with the scnts of different men.
    check it out, ist brilliant.

  • Oliver Herlitschek

    I LOVE this post, Jeff! It’s not often we get to hear personal anecdotes from you, but I really like when we do. Posts like these where you write passionately about what you find interesting is pretty interesting to me, and I, personally, would love to see more of this at Booooooom!

    • thanks Oliver, i enjoy sharing things like this so it’s definitely nice to hear if people like it or not

      i’ll try to do more


  • Jay Dart

    This is indeed real good. And now I know who to contact about my idea for an eau de toilette that smells like hockey arena. Thanks Jeff.

  • José Adolfo

    Really, really interesting… just i closed a book which addressees senses-marketing topic and then I randomly finish reading your article… “Similarly Sissel has investigated the idea of creating smells for abstract things, like fear.” Just fascinating.

    • it is interesting to me to investigate something that does not translate at all on the Internet. it’s a completely different tangent

  • Maju

    She has been in Szczecin,Poland. She has been invited to do work for ‘INspiracje’ She painted walls with smell of man while he’s stressed,nervous,scared. Try to imagine how does it feel to smell it 🙂

    • ya she showed images of this work – amazing

  • This woman is fascinating. I wrote my MA dissertation on the feminine imaginary of smell in contemporary western Art and she has been one of my heroes since!

  • good hero choice

30.09.16 by Staff

Photographer Spotlight: Kari Medig


We’re joining forces with our friends at Destination BC to spotlight some of our favourite photographers living and working in British Columbia, aka the beautiful province we’re lucky to call home. First up is Kari Medig! See more images and our interview with Kari below!

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30.09.16 by Staff

Best of Kickstarter: Lecture in Progress by It’s Nice That’s Will Hudson


Our friend Will Hudson (founder and director of It’s Nice That) is launching an educational resource to help the next generation of creatives find a job after graduation!

Demystifying the practical day-to-day workings of the creative world, Lecture in Progress will offer the kind of advice and industry insight you can’t find anywhere else. Covering everything from the range of jobs that exist, to how much you can expect to be paid, to an inside look at how projects comes together and the studios in which they happen! Check out the video and links below for more information.

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30.09.16 by Jeff

Photographer Spotlight: Vincent van de Wijngaard


A selection of photos by Vincent van de Wijngaard. More images below.

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30.09.16 by Jeff

Collection of 80 High-Res Textless Movie Posters


Not sure how this exists??? Someone has uploaded a collection of 80 high-resolution film posters stripped of any text. Can’t tell if they have next-level Photoshop skills or some other kind of voodoo that made this possible. In any case, thank you, Internet. Have a look at them all here. I included a bunch of my favourites below (there’s a common thread to the ones I picked).

*Edit – just discovered that the link I posted was actually a repost and this was originally posted by Reddit user Join_You_In_The_Sun, so I’ve updated the link in the post.

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29.09.16 by Jeff

Watch: “The Junction: A-Trak & Nick Catchdubs”

Here’s episode #3 of our animated series for Red Bull Music Academy, and it’s a peek into the pop culture-filled minds of Fool’s Gold co-founders A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs. Hopefully you’ll find it to be an enjoyable mix of the absurd and the profound (would love to see these two start their own podcast).

The visuals here are a collaborative effort from animator Brandon Blommaert and illustrator Josh Holinaty. The sound design and original music were created by Luigi Allemano.

Make sure you hit full screen on the episode above or watch it nice and big over on Booooooom TV.

Stay tuned for the rest of the episodes! If you missed the first two, watch Episode #1: Chilly Gonzales and Peaches, and watch Episode #2: Kaytranada and River Tiber.