Fragrance in Design.
Fragrance in Design
In the world of design, the ability to engage with all of the senses is crucial, particularly one’s sense of smell. Fragrance use in interior design is just as vital as sight, touch and sound as the use of scent in a living or working space can wholly enhance any décor and one’s well-being. Sandy Burns, the founder of the high-end luxury British candle brand Sandy Bay London, has been a leading forerunner in working with the design industry to showcase the need of focusing on all of the senses rather than just sight and touch alone. Fragrance is a powerful tool which can complement any design and without this connection between the two creative arts, the wonder and astonishment of interiors would be diminished. Therefore by recognising this fundamental relationship and exploring how fragrance works in synergy with design, one’s personal space can truly be transformed.
            When entering into a newly decorated space, what is one of the first things you do? The immediate reaction when one sees a beautifully designed room is to take a gasp and perhaps exhale a ‘wow.’ Unconsciously, this action allows you to take in the smell of the room as well as the sight of it, immediately displaying the connection between the sense of smell and interior design. Fragrance, in the form of a candle, diffuser or room spray, can bring the atmosphere of a room to life by throwing out striking fragrances which make that first entrance into a new space even more thrilling. Theresa Molnar, executive director of the Sense of Smell Institute states, “Scents form an impression towards one’s personal space and can wholeheartedly have an effect on the feel of the room as well as having positive effects on mood, stress reduction, sleep enhancement, self-confidence and physical and cognitive performance.” Taking Molnar’s observation into account, whether it is a home or work space, fragrance thus enhances how one may work, relax and even sleep which works hand in hand with the décor and design- a beautifully decorated room seems to be at its optimum when filled with an equally beautiful fragrance.
            Colour is integrally linked to fragrance and this connection between colour, design and scent is a crucial component within this topic. Certain fragrances, for example a rose or floral scent may cause one to associate that particular smell with the colour pink, a citrus smell on the other hand may be associated with the colour orange. As a result, if the design of a space has pink accents to it, a rose candle may be the preferred choice as when picking a complementing fragrance, the colour and design of a personal space is always in mind. Top colour psychologist Karen Haller has given her expert insight into the link between colour and fragrance, particularly linking the two with memory. Firstly I took along some Sandy Bay products and as the packaging of the candles consists of minimalist colours such as black and white, Karen described these colours as “aspirational” and the perfect colours to complement the high-end world- as Haller states these colours emulate people’s “idols” and speak to the audience that Sandy Bay is reaching. When I asked about how a fragrance is linked with interior design, Karen Haller gave an interesting analogy. The colours and design of a space determine the fragrance in terms of whether the room is minimally decorated or not. If the place is decorated with minimal colours, one may want to opt for a ‘clean’ fragrance which is not overpowering to match the decor however on the other hand, it could also allow for a complex fragrance to fill the room as the design lends itself to a fragrance which will enhance and bring to life the interior. By design and fragrance working hand in hand this way, it creates a unified space which has the ability to enliven all of the senses. In terms of memory, fragrance is one of the most powerful triggers for emotion and memories. Our sense of smell is directly connected to the brain’s limbic system which stores our memories and emotions and it is this direct link, which enables fragrances to trigger our memories and stir our emotions in a way that nothing else can. Karen Haller mentioned that often we associate smells with a memory we have experienced and this in turn triggers a colour in our mind. Thus the power of colour and fragrance is in its ability to trigger emotions and feelings of fulfilment which combined with a skilfully designed room, creates a unified space.
Depending on what the space is encompassing, whether it is a work environment or a living room, certain fragrances should be picked to emit the correct feel. Citrus fragrances are most known for their uplifting notes which are great for body refreshment and they send out a quick uplift of energy. These fruity notes such as grapefruit would be great in a work space to enliven and revive the space which will have a positive effect on the individuals within the work environment, enhancing how they work. Orange scents also work well and orange notes often hark back to ‘orangeries’ which originated from the Renaissance gardens of Italy where ‘orangeries’ were built to house citrus trees for the winter- they were a symbol of prestige and wealth and guests were often ushered to admire not only the sweet smelling fruits within but the architecture without. This shows that fragrance and design, in this case the smell of the oranges and the architecture have complemented each other for centuries and work best when they are intertwined together, engaging all of the senses. Moreover, clean linen fragrances which throw off fresh notes sit beautifully in a bedroom or even a living room as the scent promotes well-being and relaxation- perfect for spaces which require a feeling of serenity and calm. Scents which are more exotic such as Rose and Oudh, a fragrance which Karen Haller describes as a “pinky, peachy colour,” would work perfectly in a bohemian style room with scatter cushions dotted effortlessly around the floor with lounge music in the background. In light of this, picking the right fragrance is evidently vital in enhancing one’s personal space as scent can bring to life your décor in any setting.
Sandy Bay London’s range of candles offers all of these fragrances and more, from Pink Grapefruit to Warm Lavender and they are designed to sit in any setting from modern contemporary to old vintage. The company has recently reached its hand across the globe, successfully launching in Australia and then onto Beijing later in the year. Sandy’s love of the home reflects in her products and her fragrances seek to see a home bloom and thrive with a beautiful variety of fragrances which complement her client’s home design.
Vanessa Brady OBE, president of the society of British international design, has huge experience of the industry and understands the importance of engaging all the senses, something which she believes Sandy Bay delivers on. “The science behind Sandy Bay London candles is very clever,” Vanessa states. “Fragrance has an enormous role to play in our well-being and these products add a silent designer element to the home. To relax, energise and enhance the senses, a Sandy Bay London product delivers on multi levels.”  Thus, Sandy Bay London is the epitome of showcasing the importance of ‘fragrance in design.’ Fragrance and candles not only create a beautiful focal point in the home but it also assists in engaging and enhancing one’s senses when they walk into a room-Sandy Bay London’s fragrances do this at the optimum level to suit any environment or mood.
By Claudia Burns