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Urban Olfactory Installation

AIR Lets You Smell Helsinki, Budapest, Paris.

— February 19, 2008 — Art & Design
This urban olfactory installation is by far one of the most phenomenal travel-related concepts I've seen.

Think for a second what Italy might smell like, or Bombay or Amsterdam. No, it's not the smell of thin crust pizza, curry or pot. The smell of a city goes much beyond that, and it's those unique sensory elements of a city that Hilda Kozari wants people to experience with the AIR.

She teamed with Parisian perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour to create three bubbles that replicate her sensory experiences in Helsinki, Budapest and Paris.

"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," Sauma Design explains. "In this installation, 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."

If you've done any traveling, you know that each city has a distinct smell, and it's usually one your olfactory senses become aware of the second you step off a plane. My hometown smells like the ocean, and not always in a good way. In the summer's, there's a hint of floral wafts, but regardless of the time of year, there's a salty scent that just signifies home.

Put me in a room without telling me which city I'm in and I could tell you right away if it's Beijing, Osaka, Calgary, Hamburg or Niece. The sense of smell is one of the strongest, yet we're so rarely aware of it. Whether you register it consciously or not, the smells of a place are forever tied to your memories of that location.

This is such a beautiful concept, and something surely every traveler could appreciate.