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IFF perfumer Christophe Laudamiel recently created scents for the main conference halls of the World Economic Forum. GCI magazine asked him about the process, expanding roles for perfumers, creating scents that don’t live in a bottle or on individuals, evolving avenues for “delivering scent and working with nontraditional scent clients.
How many individual scents were created for the World Economic Forum? Can you briefly describe each of them and perhaps some of the novel materials employed therein?
We created eight sets. Some of them are about the ingredients, and some are more about the concept—depending on purpose.
One is called Glacier—it was to create something cold, clear and crisp—and it was a tribute to shrinking ice caps. Happiness is to show what fragrances can bring to people and consumers in general. We know the strong link that exists between emotion and fragrances. This one was actually very citrus-y—a lot of citrus ingredients from Italy, for instance. Very bright and energetic.
The one which was designed that went into the plenary room was called Six Continents to symbolize the collaborative world—the theme for the WEF meeting was the power of collaborating/innovation. So here, I had a fragrance with different facets from different continents. And also, we were explaining that, in perfumery, we have had to collaborate since oldest times no matter the country, the people, race, the geography—whatever—because to create a fragrance formula, you have to have so many products from so many parts of the world. And it has been the big know-how of the fragrance industry. Which is quite unique for an industry. The fragrance industry always had to source from many different places.
One, Artemis, is to show how perfumery helps to protect the environment, plants, the people who grow the plants. Fragrance ingredients are very high value ingredients. So, when we use perfume, we are using high value ingredients. Also, they are usually local plants, so you are helping local [economies] at the same time.
Then we had one called Swiss Heights, it was like an homage to Davos (the Swiss city that hosted WEF). Some people called it the ‘older Davos.’ We had something very like the mountain air, the Alpine flower, fir trees... That was like a blink in the eye. Gigabyte is scent inspired by high-tech and optimism. In fact, this one Carlos [Benaim] I think this is had done for Visionare [an art magazine that has worked with IFF on novel flavor and fragrance projects] so we adapted it for room fragrances. It is this atmosphere of high-tech, and it is to show, that in fragrances we can recreate any kind of atmospheres. It is not just lavender fields or something.