Olfactory spaces: Smell in design education

On the 19th of September, Claus Noppeney and Ashraf Osman of SCI conducted a class for the Signaletik CAS program (context building), part of the Signaletik MAS (Environmental Information Design) at the Bern University of the Arts, under the supervision of Jimmy Schmid. Titled Bern Urban Scent Walk and Beyond: Olfactory Spaces, the class built upon the biennial project and consisted of two parts, an introductory lecture by Claus Noppeney and an on-site workshop by Ashraf Osman. You can find the lecture’s presentation below; the workshop focused on the following: identifying scent; atmosphere & scent; controlling the urban smellscape; and mapping the olfactory dimension.

For the workshop, the students focused on a 2-block intersection in inner city Bern, which they explored repeatedly in order to identify urban scents and their sources. Then, taking inspiration from the work of Victoria Henshaw and Kate McLean, they devised ways to categorize and visually represent these observations on maps. The exercise was successful in its aims to sensitize the postgraduate signage students to olfactory signs in their surroundings and encourage them to deal more thoughtfully with scent in the built environment.

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