The sweet smell of success

Demonstrating once again its ability to create innovative technical solutions, Fläkt Woods has provided a scented air system for the world’s first Scent Opera, which premiered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Neil Yule, European sales director for Fläkt Woods Systems said: “Scent Opera introduces a new art form based only on smell and sound. We collaborated with Aeosphere – a multi-sensory media company, to create something truly unique.  Led by Stewart Matthew, who developed the original concept, and renowned fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel, the Aeosphere team commissioned composers Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurdsson to create a stunning musical score, whilst Fläkt Woods developed the scenting technology.

Audience members listened to music in a darkened theatre while a ‘scent organ’, designed by the Colchester based Company, triggered scent microphones attached to each seat, which emitted suggestive scents to tell the story.

The system works on compressed air, which flows through a main feed pipe. It is ducted to pick up the smells from the scent organ, using 35 individual cartridges specially packed to respect the balance of the scents and to deliver the vapours in a safe and non-contaminating gaseous form.

Under pressures of up to 150 psi, and distilled through a complex system of manifolds and valves, the air is discharged through thin tubes, connected to the flexible, goose-necked microphones, secured to the arm of each seat. The air is released with minimal turbulence, so the smells are instantly powerful and targeted. The system is self-cleaning using a specially formulated purging solution.

Thanks to the tremendous success of Scent Opera, whose five performances premiered to critical acclaim, the event is expected to be replicated at various other prestigious venues around the world, giving a wider audience a chance to smell for themselves this totally unique art form.  The success of the Guggenheim show has also generated strong global interest from operators of high-quality cinemas, keen to use sensory enhancement in order to add a whole new dimension to the cinema-going experience.

“The Scent Organ marks the first in a series of technical innovations designed to add the use of scent to our existing array of Air Climate solutions” says Neil Yule.  “A rapidly growing market has emerged for the scenting of large spaces, including retail, hotel and leisure applications.  Working in close collaboration with our partners at Aeosphere, we are developing a number of scent-related solutions that can be incorporated into our existing HVAC systems.

“The scientific research into the power of scent and its ability to stimulate the brain as much as visual or auditory clues is compelling.  Major retailers are now recognising scent design as an increasingly important part of the consumer experience. Hospitals in the United States have recognised the ability of scent to help calm patients and shorten recovery time, and leading hotel chains across the world are using scent to improve the ambience of their public spaces, raising their customers’ perception of quality.”

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