When my bottle of cologne hit the bathroom floor this morning it wasn’t the sight of broken glass that occupied my senses. It was the scent. It was powerful. It took me right back to the shop where I tried it on for the first time.
I have always been interested in scents, and the use of scent is starting to blossom in some sectors. Samsung and Bloomingdales have introduced scent marketing in some of their stores. Even companies like Burger King and Vodafone have signature brand colognes, and chances are that your local petrol station may have its own signature scent. But in the attractions industry, an industry rooted in storytelling and emotion, it’s surprising that the use of scents often is overlooked.
The science is all there. The part of the brain that processes scent is the same part that processes memory and emotion—they are physically connected. The smell of clove suddenly reminds me of Christmas and the smell of patchouli of my mother. It’s not oversentimentality, it’s science
As designers we pay careful attention to each detail—the colors, the layout, the graphics, the font on safety signage. We tweak each line. We carefully curate the soundtrack. Yet smell, the sense that scientifically takes us straight to emotion, is generally not top of mind.
I perceive scents as colors—invisible colors if you will—that act in the same way as painting a room in swirly red and white stripes. Wouldn’t adding the smell of peppermint or cotton candy take it to the next level? It transports you into the story and embeds the experience in your memory. It transforms the room from being merely a room into an experience. An experience to remember.
I can cite the research that carefully incorporating scent has been shown to increase consumer spending (it really is out there). But the fact remains that scent is intangible, it’s invisible and sadly, often ignored.
It’s also a powerful tool. It’s a shortcut to connect in the brain to a positive experience. It surpasses all other brain processes and goes straight to emotion. That is how scent can embed memories and experiences. Remember that damp smell when entering The Haunted Mansion or the subtle smell of chlorine water in Pirates of the Caribbean? Scent transforms you to another dimension of the story telling.
It’s also how, for the remainder of that day, every time I caught a whiff of my cologne it wasn’t the smell of cedar or vetiver that caught my attention—it was the recollection of the good-smelling accident that morning.
Ever since I was scared to death as a young boy at an exhibition of Duane Hanson's lifelike figures I've had a keen interest in hyper realistic sculptures. Nothing like a good scare to spark lifelong flame of interest I suppose.
I recently found the work of British sculptor Jamie Salmon. With this larger-than-life hyper realistic figures he joins the nobel club of Sam Jinks, Ron Mueck and Carole Feuerman and the wonderfully twisted and disturbing Choi Xoo Ang.
Jamie Salmon is based in Vancouver and you can see more of his work on his website.
If you, like I, appreciate a good old fashioned cafeteria and happen to be around the Los Angeles area, I recommend a visit to Clifton's.
Apart from the food court where you collect your own food on a tray, pay per item and seat yourself any resemblance with other cafeterias ceases.
Clifton's 600-seats dining room is adorned with a 6 meter tall waterfall 'cascading into a stream that meanders through the room', a life size forest featuring animated racoons and fishing bear. Top this with a chapel inside a hollow faux tree where you can press a button to hear 'The Perable of the Redwoods.'
This landmark of a Cafeteria opened its doors in Downtown Los Angeles in 1935 and have amazed visitors ever since. The interior behind the handsome art deco facade on Broadway has been described as a 'slightly down-at-the-heels Disney version of a twilight forest'. Truth be told, there is something slightly scary about the kitschy and theatrical interior, but the food is good and inexpensive. The selection is enormous, the staff is courteous in an old school kind of way and a meal at Clifton's guarantees a dining experience out of the ordinary. If not, the slogan of the establishment is 'Dine Free Unless Delighted.'
I think most designers have some tool they always reach out for - a certain shape you always like, a favourite, time-tested font that never fails to work or a format you just like to work with. For me it's a colour. I keep going back to this orange vermillion colour, which happens to be the colour of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. I don't know who gave it the odd name International Orange, but that's the official name.
Initially it was selected to by architect Irving Morrow to complement the natural surroundings and enhance visibility in the SF fog. Don't know about visibility in fog, but I have found to to be a very pleasant and timeless colour that adds warmth to any room, be it a restaurant, a home or a setting.
The closest existing colour codes to the Golden Gate Bridge International Orange are
PMS 173 (CYMK = 0%, 80%, 94%, 1%),
PMS 174 (CYMK 8%, 85%, 100%, 34%)
Pantone 180 (CYMK 19.4%, 77.9%, 79.6%, 3.6%)
Alternatively, put some flowers in your hair and go match the samples in San Francisco. Be careful not to leave your heart there, though.
"As soon as we got there I was intrigued by the factory and fascinated by the macabre feel of the location. Limbs, heads and torsos were stacked on shelves, packed into boxes and spilled out of crates. We found groups of mannequins standing in formation like modern day terracotta armies and incomplete, dismembered body parts looming out of the shadows of spray rooms." So says award winning photographer Dylan Collard of his visit to proportion london's display mannequin factory - and shows us the not-so-glamorous but distinctive and fascinating birth of mannequins.
See more of his work on dylandcollard.com. I also recommend a visit to the highly entertaining world of Miss Mannequin's adventures.
Peter Petz lives and works in The Pink Carousel House in a little village in the middle of nowhere, about one hour from Munich.
Under the slogan 'It's A Pleasure For All' he has been building his nostalgic carousels here since 1967. Evidence of his work is seen all over the place: Canopies, giant ladies torsos, metal frames, painted signs and guilder archways are scattered around the grounds.
This man knows the difference from an American and an English carousel (one spins clockwise and the other counter clockwise). He can tell what woodcarver in Italy in 1920 started to make his horses with pointed ears and he collects artefacts from amusement parks and circuses. He spells 'fantasy' and 'fantastic' the way he says it ('phantasy', 'phantasmic') and his children are named Cinderella and Merlin
Being an old school showman he doesn't believe in exhibiting at trade shows. Instead he walk the aisles dressed in a pink suit and a top hat, handing out business cards.
His proudest moment was when Michael Jackson came to visit. He ordered a carousel for his Neverland Ranch and Peter Petz have pictures to prove that the star actually was there. He also build a carousel designed by Keith Haring, and had a wooden trailer refurbished for the artist to live in during his stay. The perfect gypsy fortune teller trailer. But Keith wanted to stay in Munich 'close to the bars for boys' as Peter puts it.
On his website he writes: 'Pleasure For All being my guiding principle I endeavour to bring happiness to many more children, young and old, by making my phantasies and their dreams come true.' My phantasie is one day to return to The Pink Carousel House again for another cup of green tea. Perhaps I get to sit in the chair Michael Jackson sat in.
Walking down Hollywood Boulevard I turned into North Orange Drive, a little side street with a few parking garages and some houses scattered around. Nothing special until I got to the end of the street where I encountered this beauty of an apartment building. A wonderful example of early Hollywood's fascination with 'the exotic' - Asia, Egypt, you name it. Transforming a well proportioned but ordinary and pretty boring box of a building into a chinese pagoda of some sort. If that isn't make believe I don't know what is.
The building is aptly named The Nirvana - how perfect is that? - and was build in 1925. The architect is a gentleman by the name of E.M. Erdaly.
Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, California closed in 2005.
In 2006 I visited the site of the museum on a warm California night.
When Movieland opened in 1962 it was the largest Hollywood movie themed wax museum in the U.S. It even had a footprint plaza ('Starprint Gallery') outside like Grauman's Chinese Theatre, featuring, among others, love from Phyllis Diller. The free standing building in the front, now a Starbucks, was originally a souvenir shop called 'Starlite Gift Shop'.
The wax figures of Movieland were originally made by Henry Alvarez and Katherine Stubergh. For a time the museum was owned by Six Flags who also operated Stars Hall of Fame in Orlando. In 1985 the museum was sold to the owners of the Wax Museum at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and the quality of the new figures declined dramatically.
The tower sign was the tallest sign in Orange County, and as far as I know the big building on Beach Boulevard is still there.
The Shining is one of the best horror movies ever made. Period.
Suffering from the flu I was watching the movie again the other day. My feeble state didn't allow me to follow the story too closely, so instead I was just looking at the amazing interiors of the Overloook Hotel.
Did you know that the Gold Room in the movie is supposed to be a replica of a ball room at the the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona? A Frank Lloyd Wright building.
I checked out their website and sadly I didn't see any resemblance to Jack's spooky hangout. But of course, Frank Lloyd Wright and everything, it was a very elegant room.
The amazing red toilet is also supposed to be from the Biltmore Hotel, but I haven't been able to verify it.
The Colorado Lounge was modeled very closely after the lounge at the Awhanee Hotel in Yosemite National Park in California. I don't need to show a picture, they are identical.
I don't know where the green bathroom is from, but I know one thing: I want one of those, please! (Only if the old woman would leave the tub before I move in, thank you very much).
Finally, but not least: The hallway carpet. Oh dear me!