Scents are Now In

The smell of thing is something one usually only thinks about when they’re bad. By one, I mean this one, meaning me. There are the off times that the smell of cinnamon in some baked good housing sends me on some Proustian sojourn of memory and pastry lust. No idea where that came from, but that happens. It’s generally something in our day and age you don’t think about that much.

Apparently however, the taste makers are now filling trendy shops with candles and incense now. I saw it first hand in Shoreditch in London where everything is invented, and was told, “scents are so in this year.”

This struck me as such a weird statement, but one meriting a think or two about. We, and especially me as a designer, live very visual and technologically ruled lives. You look at things and a bunch of percent of the information, the overwhelming amount it you punch into your brain from your body comes visually. Thinking about technology though and how it will wipe out or overtake a good hunk potentially of everything visual, I thought about what is this one thing that AI can’t do? One thing we have left to grasp that no amount of photo posting can capture?

The smell of place. The smell of a thing. Sure you can fake it, but can you fake or generate the experience of it? You can make any number of smells artificially I’m sure, but the reaction is much different. The smells we take with us in our memories and throughout the day. They linger in your brain and like that French dude centuries ago with his mom’s boring, sans cinnamon pastry, rush memories forward. But the experience itself is still very visceral. You almost feel smell, and you certainly can almost taste it.

What do I know, my sinuses generally hate me and don’t work most of the time anyhow.