Archive for scent

i c e l a n d

Posted in architecture, art, beauty, iceland, landscape, light, lighthouse, mountains, scent, senses, symbology, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by dacarc

the alchemy of a place

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indescribable, dreamy, mystical, stunning, disorienting

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the visible elements:

lush green fields rolling under jagged peaks, washed in swaths of violet lupine

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stark glaciers falling into the ocean’s horizon

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endless lava deserts, blanketed in thick moss

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split chasms, cracked earth fissures

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photo by tim girvin

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milky blue lakes of steaming minerals, thrusting from deep underground

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heavy timber structures emerging, of the earth, stone-walled, turf sheltered

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rushing waterfalls, slicing over sheer rock mesas downward to the sea

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mist-shrouded peaks, veiled mysteries

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never-ending light, midnight sun

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standing stones, cairns, and rock-circles

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ice-shards, crystalline boulders streaming over black sand shores

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ancient codes, runes, and magical sigals

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bands of wild horses, roaming over lush green valleys

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the people, shielded by the powers of their natural island-world

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the invisible elements:

the scent of green, wet stone, salt-waters

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the desolation of no-where

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the absence of night

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no-time

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dark histories, volcanic destructions

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the chilled misted, crystalline air

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the heat of underground forces

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a place of mystery

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photo by tim girvin

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a magic place

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and the enduring strength of the people

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i c e l a n d

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the scent of place

Posted in architecture, bhutan, florence, fragrance, memory, scent, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by dacarc

how do we create captivating places that hold in our memories – that draw us back over and over, that linger in our minds, pulling us to them again?  in the design of places, i’ve been thinking about captivation and memory.  why places draw my attraction or repulsion, why places pull me in – and what is striking about the nature of memorable places?  

rose window

rose window

 

 

the power of the link between memory and scent deepens the connection to the experience of place.  the more i’ve explored the idea, my experience is heightened – like smelling in technicolor.  many of my most powerful memories of places can be triggered by scent.  

last summer, i met lorenzo villoresi in his atelier in florence – surrounded by thousands of essences he has collected from travels all over the world, i asked him about the idea of scent in architecture or place, rather than the personal fragrance that he is most known for creating.  he shared this book with me “invisible architecture, experiencing places through the sense of smell”, a wonderful exploration of this concept.  

lorenzo villoresi - florence, italy

lorenzo villoresi - florence, italy

 

in the hills above florence we explored one of the few iris farms dedicated to the production of the essence.  as he explained, the iris essence is nearly 10 times the cost of most essences “notes” as the nose calls them.  the rare iris essence is extracted from iris bulbs – the flower has no scent.  the bulbs are re-planted after shaving off the bottom two-thirds, macerating, drying and powderizing.  

iris bulb harvest - tuscany

iris bulb harvest - tuscany

 

iris collection arbor - tuscany

iris collection arbor - tuscany

 

dried iris bulbs - tuscany

dried iris bulbs - tuscany

 

 i still remember being stricken by memory through scent when i picked up an old perfume bottle from a friend’s dresser, and was overwhelmed with the memory of my babysitter from preschool years, whom i hadn’t seen or thought of for more than 10 years – her presence was powerfully evoked to that moment through her fragrance.  it wasn’t dragon’s blood – i don’t even know the name of that perfume, but i know that i can recognize that scent again 20 years later. 

dragon's blood - pharmacia in florence, italy

dragon's blood - pharmacia in florence, italy

 

i gravitate toward the scent of wood, wet fir, earth, leaves and tangled underbrush from the misted forests of my early childhood – those scents transport me back to the earth in my mouth and leaves in my hair as i tumbled down a fern-covered ravine.
forest path

forest path

 

about six months before i travelled to bhutan, bertrand duchaufour created a fragrance for l’artisan, the french perfumer – named dzongkha – that is the national language of bhutan. this fragrance he created was based upon his travels in bhutan – when i found this fragrance i was very intrigued.  dark, smoky, woody – scents that i love, gave me a preview of what i was to experience in the himalayan temples of this small buddhist kingdom.  i fell in love, with both the fragrance, and the place.  i’ve kept that fragrance close since that journey, and it transports me there.
bhutan temple

bhutan temple

 

i’ve been imagining a place – a new project, a building made of materials selected based upon their embodied scent. no drywall, no paint, no glues – beyond non-toxic.  pure materials, and their response to wind, sunlight, chill, and rain – the changing of the seasons, the climate, the cycles of day to night.  would that place be memorable?