Olfactive Design

Editorial

For this new Olfactive Design edition, Firmenich has chosen a creative partnership with Central Saint Martins in London, a school invested in creating a positive social and environmental future, a hub of disciplines where current and upcoming international talents converge. The codes of fine perfumery, as we have known them up until now, have been rewritten, thanks to a dialogue between perfumers from Paris, New York, Sao Paulo and Dubai, and students from countries all over the world. We are pleased to share some of these ideas with you over the coming weeks. The projects that you will discover are at the intersection of poetry, technology and politics. It was important that our perfumers captured the mentality of a new generation, its hopes for the future and the changes it wishes to bring about. We could not have dreamed of a better talent pool, both inspired and inspiring, from a school which has long been driven by social empowerment, sustainability and inclusivity. Of all the artistic and creative disciplines being developed at Central Saint Martins, from fashion to design, it was the two Masters of Arts specialised in Narrative Environment and Material Futures that most attracted our attention. We set up a dialogue between students from these two courses and found that, despite the interdisciplinary nature of teaching and the multitude of subjects covered, they had never before studied perfume. We sought a fresh approach when writing this new chapter. We wanted to address the field of design, whose goal is to remodel space and time through technology, and reassert the environment as a space to be shared. Through this initiative, the field of design reassigns new uses to fine fragrance. A new story is written with a view to regenerating modes of creation, distribution channels, the physical and digital experience, and all the factors that give perfume its value. This coincides with the expectations of the new luxury market. Consumerism is no longer synonymous with individual pleasure. Consumers understand their role in a system that has consequences. The economic and environmental implications linked to the market must benefit the planet and its inhabitants. Added to this is the question of function – for heightened emotional states or increased health capital for example – a dimension that the pandemic has highlighted, and one that was emerging even before the crisis. Initially, perfume was an accessory, but it is now becoming a social intermediary, a marker of identity and awareness. This is what both the creators at Firmenich and the 2021 Central Saint Martins cohort have anticipated and taken into account. These stories are influenced by science and art, much like all of the personalities present. That is the essence of fine perfumery.