AIR – Urban Olfactory Installation

What would you think your city smells like? Together with perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, Hilda Kozári has created three different perfumes to represent three cities: Helsinki, Budapest and Paris.

The Air installation consists of three bubbles. The bubbles, designed in collaboration with Esa Vesmanen, contain Hilda Kozári’s personal memories and experiences of the three cities in olfactory and visual formats. The images of the video are transparent like air and vague like the pictures of her memory, leaving space for the spectators to make their own interpretations. The accurate definition of the urban landscapes is given by the sense of smell, which brings to mind different memories. The odor of a city is not just about the sea, wind, parks, buildings and garbage, but also about people, the living environment, and its emotional, cultural and industrial life connected to memory. As in a personal perfume, the smell of the city depends strongly on the balance of odors.


The perfumes are olfactory translations of the definitions which Hilda Kozári has chosen to create the atmosphere of each city. Several effects were used to give the impression of pollution: juniper tar oil for a smoky impression, nutmeg and synthetic compounds to represent the gasoline and the oily, greasy effect of a garage smell.

Check the work at SAUMA, an exhibition of 16 innovative design concepts and prototypes from Finnish designers and artists. You might already know some of them like TileToy, Mukana. The show opens to the public in NYC at World Financial Center Courtyard Gallery on June 20.

Kozari’s installation made me think of several other projects such as Usman Haque’s Scents of Space, an interactive smell system that allows for 3D placement of fragrances without dispersion; Esme Macleod’s Sensory urban public bathing concept; and although it doesn’t create smell, i’m fond of Laura Beloff’s Airquarium, bubbles that recreated in Oslo real-time weather data from Shanghai.

2osloweat.jpgSmelly projects: SpotScents, the scent projector, Brands must come to their senses, Trained wasps to sniff out chemicals and ulcers, Coded smells to give orders, Digital fragrance, Jenny Tillotson’s Fragrance delivery brooch set and aromatic dress,

Smell fun: Wallpaper for succulent space, Wake n’ Bacon,