Fine Fragrance RE│IMAGINED: Firmenich and Central Saint Martins Project the Future Role of Fine Fragrance

Firmenich, the world’s largest privately-owned fragrance and taste company, has teamed up in an exclusive collaboration with world-renowned arts and design college Central Saint Martins in London to reimagine the future of fine fragrance. Twenty-one projects provide a unique, “fragrance forward” vision for game-changing uses of fine fragrance, from heat relief, water conservation, and community empowerment, to mindful eating and scent travel.


“Firmenich is empowering a positive future for fine fragrance,” said Ilaria Resta, President, Global Perfumery, Firmenich. “Through both RE|GENERATION and Olfactive Design, we are writing a new story including creation, distribution points, distribution methods, and physical or digital experiences, to reinvent the value of fine fragrance. Perfume becomes a social intermediary, identity marker and mindful catalyst.”


“These inspirational projects with the talented next generation of designers are nourished by science and art. They represent both the future of luxury and the ultimate essence of fine fragrance,” added Mehdi Lisi, VP, Global Fine Fragrance, Creation, Development and Innovation (CDI), Firmenich. “We are proud to share this work, co-created with Central Saint Martins.”


Bethany Shepherd, Professor of MA Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins said: “This is the first time our students have worked with perfume. With the rise in popularity of immersive experiences and meaningful interactions, students were keen to explore how scent can link both personal and cultural memory, and how olfactive experiences connect people to better understand each other and their environments.”


  • Global warming has formed urban heat islands in heavily populated areas and cities worldwide, where natural land is replaced with buildings and surfaces that retain heat (such as pavement). Manmade heat affects humans in many ways, from creating additional stress to amplifying illnesses. Looking at the theme of Danger/Chaos/Risk, student Lars Dittrich provides a counterbalance to these islands. As a solution, he created a Fragrance Ventilator that captures hot air as it rises, humidifies and cools the air in a tube, and then releases jets of fragrance from vents as cool, scented breeze. Senior Perfumer Dora Baghriche imagined a scent to emphasize a refreshing sensation, with a green accord to emulate the relieving sensation of vegetal freshness and a mineral facet to suggest an implicit petrichor effect of fresh rain. She also added a touch of Freezestorm®, a breakthrough technology, delivering a long-lasting cooling sensation that reinforces the hyper-sensoriality of the project.


  • Addressing the theme of Pleasure & Wellbeing, student Alessia Yu created a program to help individuals temper emotional eating habits at a time when eating disorders are on the rise. Her Mindful Dining experience proposes to restore a person’s full awareness of what he or she is tasting, therefore bringing more joy and wellbeing to the individual’s life. Olfaction contributes as much as 80-90% to the taste of one’s food, thus scent is a powerful tool to engage a person’s senses and create a more pleasurable food experience. The dining adventure begins with a customized dessert subscription, delivered with a scent box diffuser and audio-guided meditation. As a person begins the guided, mindful journey, they are introduced to each ingredient and layer of the dessert they’re about to eat via fragrances emitted from the diffuser box as well as imagery on screen. This exercise amplifies smells and textures to better appreciate taste. In this example, Firmenich Perfumer Alexis Grugeon brought the dessert experience to life with an addictive banana bread fragrance. Using Smell The Taste™ technology transporting the individual to thoughts of home-baked goods, he mixed the rich creaminess of banana with notes of walnut, wrapped in a refined orris trail.


  • With the feeling of Hope & Re-Enchantment as a guide, student Aliza Ruzavina created a communal Scent Fountain to help local communities take ownership of the future of their neighborhoods. The fountain lives at the center of each town, and features opinion polls about community issues, such as new building development, industrial changes, traffic density and natural park spaces. When voting, people smell scented tubes around the fountain containing different fragrances related to different outcomes of the poll. Each scent relates to a unique characteristic of what the community could smell like if a change is made. Once a person has smelled all of the options, they cast their ballot by pushing a button. Principal Perfumer Hamid Merati-Kashani imagined a fragrance that argues in favor of positive and eco-conscious communal behaviors, using notes of pink pepper, an exclusive NaturePrint® magnolia scent, and biodegradable and renewable Sorbettolide® musk as key ingredients. Each of these elements recall the existence of nature in the midst of a city, helping empower the community and people who live there to make healthy and eco-friendly decisions.


The impressive, thought-provoking prototypes were showcased in a live, day-long, closed-door exhibit held at Central Saint Martins in London in December 2020. Students walked attendees through their concepts, constructions and fragrance creations. Access to the projects is now available exclusively on Firmenich’s RE|GENERATION website so that customers and consumers can view the intricate works via images and video footage of each project. Additional content will be added bi-weekly, covering new themes, projects and insights.


Olfactive Design encourages us to think about the future of fine fragrance through new uses and application techniques. As the world changes, from climate issues to political and cultural unrest, so does our perfumery. Our industry has the ability to course correct current and future concerns, as fragrance plays a critical role in the wellbeing of future generations,” said Perfumer Alexis Grugeon.


Since 1998, Firmenich’s Olfactive Design program explores a thematic from artistic and sensorial standpoints. Each edition offers a unique experience engaging our senses as well as our imagination. This exclusive immersion takes us on an olfactive journey showcasing the creativity of our Fine Fragrance perfumers from Paris, New York, Sao Paulo and Dubai, who work with full creative freedom.


Launched in July 2020, celebrating Firmenich’s 125-year legacy and leadership in Fine Fragrance, RE|GENERATION is a global call-to-action embracing the radical optimism of change and examining how it will shape the future of the fine fragrance industry. The movement invites the fragrance community, customers, consumers, artists and influencers to work together to innovate, rejuvenate and drive the transformation of Fine Fragrance. @FirmenichFine #FragranceIsCulture #RegenerationReset.


For more about Olfactive Design and RE|GENERATION, please visit:

Christine Schott Ledes
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