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

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Illustrator Spotlight: Dayoung Cho


Drawings by illustrator Dayoung Cho. More images below.

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02.12.16 by Jeff

Booooooom Reader Submissions: December


Here’s this month’s Reader Submissions post! Please share your work here if you’d like to be considered for a feature on Booooooom. The comments allow images to be attached so make sure post an image along with a link to your website.

One of the things that makes Booooooom unique is all the encouraging comments people send back and forth on these monthly submission posts. If you’re going to share your work please take an extra second to leave a nice comment on someone else’s work!

Voting up work is like high-fiving that person and it also helps us see what work you guys like! Remember, even if your work isn’t featured on the main site these posts can send some decent traffic to your portfolio! The link at the bottom will open up this full post, simply scroll down and use the commenting system to submit your work.


Submission guidelines:

 1. Please don’t flood the comments with a dozen images, just post 1 image that represents your best work along with 1 link.

2. If you see good work posted by someone upvote it so it appears at the top. This is not just a nice thing to do, it helps me see what work you actually like.

3. You can/should also encourage people who are sharing good work here! Comment on their posts and let them know you like what they’re doing. I really want to foster a community here, and this is a simple way you can connect with other people making work.

4. Keep in mind your post may not show up right away because it has an image attached. It may need to be manually approved first so don’t freak out and post a million times, once is enough.



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Artist Spotlight: Roby Dwi Antono


A selection of surreal work by artist Roby Dwi Antono, based in Yoyakarta, Indonesia. Would love to see more work from this part of the world. Wow. If you know of others please send recommendations! More images below.

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Photographer Spotlight: Fred Lahache


A selection of recent work by Paris-based photographer Fred Lahache (click here for previous post). More images below!

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Artist Spotlight: Sarah Awad


A selection of paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Sarah Awad (click here for previous post). More images below.

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