Misc

“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.