london design festival zuza mengham

 

during the london design festival 2016, zuza mengham collaborates with fragrance maker laboratory perfumes on an artistic exploration of the relationship between scent and the other human senses. taking the brand’s four existing scents — ‘amber’, ‘gorse’, ‘samphire’ and ‘tonka’, along with a soon-to-be-launched fifth called ‘atlas’ — mengham translates intangible fragrances into solid forms with a series of resin sculptures. 

london design festival zuza mengham
‘tonka’
photos by ilka & franz

 

 

displayed in the conran shop from september 15 – 25, 2016 during the london design festival, the sculptures encapsulate the resonance and register of laboratory perfumes‘ signature fragrances. mengham has translated the individual notes of the scent into a sculptural and unique blend of colors, angles and effects. the freshness of ‘samphire’ is evoked by interplay of light through layers of translucent resin; the crisp citrus smell of ‘gorse’ is embodied as a clear yellow hue; while the eponymous beans of ‘tonka’ are represented in speckles of slate. 

 

‘I made a conscious decision not to read the descriptions, but to smell them all and see what I could decipher from them first directly, taking notes and ideas’, mengham says. ‘after I matched them up with their descriptions I made a series of drawings with watercolor overlays, building up the colors and patterns until I was happy they translated in a way that felt appropriate.’

london design festival zuza mengham

 

 

‘all of the lab perfumes scents have a level of complexity, which meant I was pretty spoiled for options,’ mengham elaborates. ‘most perfumes have three distinctive ‘notes’, which describe the fundamental blueprint that comprises the scent. amber is a good example; it has top notes that are fresh and grassy, developing into centre notes of rich woodiness. the base notes are the richer, deeper elements, which bind the scent, and amber’s base note matures with a balmy ambergris. so I wanted to try and represent this development through the junctures as it felt important to the visual description. I used a clear green tint with pale chalky marbling at the top for the lighter leafy notes and, as I moved down, the green became more of a browny burnt red to accent the deeper components.’

london design festival zuza mengham

 

 

the ‘sculpting scent’ exhibition additionally celebrates the launch of laboratory perfumes’ fifth scent – atlas. the fragrance is built around the aroma of pipe tobacco, with layers of rum, vanilla, hay, and fresh ozone top notes inspired by the scents of morocco’s atlas mountains.

london design festival zuza mengham
‘samphire’

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham
‘atlas’

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham
‘amber’

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham
‘gorse’

london design festival zuza mengham

london design festival zuza mengham

 

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