In the context of the Y Think Tank at Tongji University in Shanghai, this workshop provided the opportunity to experience the ephemeral materiality of scents and smells and to reflect of its cultural and economic relevance. The Urban Scent Walk explored the neighborhood of the Tongji University’s campus road as a smellscape: How does it smell? Where does the odor come from? What are the sources? What atmosphere is created in this location? What do you associate with the odor? What does it remind you of? How are the odors controlled? What design decision can be identified? How are odors separated? How is the space de-odorized? How are odors masked? How is the space scented?
Mixed Sino-Swiss groups started out as an olfactory expedition: smelling, sharing, discussing and reflecting. Smells and scents characterize a space: dust, printing, paprika, sesame, concrete, wood, smoke. We recognize a space by its smell: elevator, kitchen, lecture hall, hallway. Smells create the atmosphere of a space: relaxed, casual, serious, formal, social, intimate, personal. Smells reveal what happened in a space: eating, meeting, sex, sport. Olfaction unfolds in space: volatile, transient, vaguely, fugitive, flighty. Smells stimulate, polarize, evoke. Smell is culture: temple, differences, cult, meaning, ritual, art, church, religion, design, distinction, taboo, class, inheritance. Smell is a design dimension: product, fashion, communication, interior, interaction. Smell is innovation: digital economy, experiential economy, aesthetic economy, affective capitalism.
More Bern University of the Arts published a booklet documenting the event: