Invisible Architecture: Experiencing Places Through The Sense of Smell {Fragrant Reading}


There is a book that promises to be absolutely fascinating to read for people who pay attention to olfaction and about which I was reminded of by a thoughtful comment from reader Anita about form and function regarding perfume as comparable to architecture in the discussion about Veuillet-Gallot's guide to perfume below.

That book is entitled Invisible Architecture: Experiencing Places Through The Sense of Smell, authored by Anna Barbara and Anthony Perliss and published by Skira. It is on my must-read list, but I thought I might just as well mention it now while I was thinking about it.....

Anna Barbara is an architect and a professor at the Polytechnic of Milan and Anthony Perliss is a graphic designer for a French perfume company, we are told.

The book deals with places and architecture that reveal an olfactory identity, or a vanishing such one, although it seems smells are making a comeback in architectural thinking. An article by both authors on the web gives a glimpse into the universe you will enter when opening the book,

"An extract from Daniel Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year, 1722, is quoted in the book and he wrote: "If we came to go into a church when it was anything full of people, there would be such a mixture of smells at the entrance that it was much more strong, though perhaps not so wholesome, than if you were going into an apothecary's or druggist's shop." He goes on to describe the different smells that would be encountered. This quotation sums up much of what the book is about, but it is brought it right up the present day with the 9/11 destruction of the Twin Towers in New York with the smell of the dust, consisting of cement, asbestos and paper among other things."

An important aspect of this study is that it also helps you redefine what architecture is,

"The book also raises the question, what is architecture? Most of us have a preconceived notion that it is buildings and the built environment, but if we experience places through the sense of smell, as this book sets out to do, then it is rarely the actual buildings that produce the odour but the activities associated with them."

Read more here....

The book is priced at $ 29.16.

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