Ever wondered what sound smells like?
Byredo will satisfy your curiosity with Olfactive Stéréophonique, a $1,300 speaker-shaped fragrance diffuser that disperses scent using the same principles of audio amplification.
Designed in collaboration with Devon Turnbull of OJAS, an experimental audio equipment brand, the clever gadget is inspired by the experience of attending Hindu temples and meditation halls, spaces where the aural and olfactive often collide.
It's not entirely clear how, exactly, the Olfactive Stéréophonique works but a press release describes it as a "Biradial Controlled Directivity Scent Dispersion Device." The diffuser comes with 10 fragrance capsules, which are ostensibly inserted somewhere in the device.
The fragrance in question? Byredo doesn't give it a name, but the scent "helps in the transition between states of consciousness, and evoke[s] a temple experience within a listening space setting."
"It’s a multi-sensory experience, one where all of the elements should be considered and where setting and scent is critical," Byredo explains of the device, clarifying that it is not a speaker and does not produce or amplify sound.
Sold in a limited edition of 100, the diffuser exemplifies the kind of conceptual, artisanal lens through which Byredo views fragrance and makeup.
Unlike hearing or vision, smell is a sense that's near impossible to quell ("we often sit with our eyes closed, but we can never stop smelling the room," Byredo notes), a capability that we often take for granted. It's difficult not to connect the diffuser to the pandemic and anosmia, a hallmark symptom of COVID that can have devastating effects on mental health.
The Olfactive Stéréophonique challenges users to slow down and appreciate the act of smelling, an underrated pleasure of life.