Somerset House has launched a multi-sensory exhibition this summer dedicated to 10 scents that challenge the conventions of fragrance.
This is no ordinary beauty showcase – the exhibit includes 'bad-taste' perfumes, evoking smells of smoke and sweat among other things. These self-taught perfumers are questioning the idea of traditional fragrance; their creations are designed for exploration and introspective thinking rather than to attract others or to smell what most of us would consider to be pleasant. The idea is to inject more originality into perfume and to manufacture products that "assault all of the senses".
The exhibition starts with an overview of modern perfumery and the historical innovators who paved the way for today's industry. It then highlights the works of 10 trailblazers who are influencing the current market. Each has a dedicated space so that visitors can truly immerse themselves into their scented world.
The display also features a functioning perfume laboratory, where the public can interact with professional perfumers and see the science that goes into making a scent.
'Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent' is open at Somerset House (somersethouse.org.uk) until September 17.