Although well equipped for engaging all the senses, Western gardens have tended to privilege vision in their design. Scent Garden reverses the usual hierarchy in a multi-sensory experience that places smell at the top. The reversal is consistent with descriptions of Paradise where the olfactory register is typically emphasized.
Scent Garden is largely dedicated to the controlled delivery and orchestration of plant-derived scents. They are delivered in the forest of three different materials and by three different methods:
1-Living Plants-Aromatic Herbs in small pots) They are planted in cardboard tubes —recessed from the top rim to protect them from impact while still exposing them to sunshine. The tubes themselves are arranged in two mound-like clusters that visitors can walkover or upon which they can recline for close-up olfactory encounters.
2-Dried Plant Material--Spices in Sachets) Dried leaves, grasses and seeds in small permeable sachets are loosely packed with pebbles inside cardboard tubes. The tubes are clustered in a smooth rock-like formation. Their varying depth allows for the precise calibration and coordination of smell intensities, with more subtle spices benefiting from higher concentrations in deeper tubes.
3-Plant Extract--Essential oils in Electronically Controlled Diffusers) Essential oils in small bottles equipped with reed diffusers are places inside cardboard tubes. The tubes feature proximity sensory that activate a small tan at the bottom, sending a short pulse of flagrant air when someone is nearby. The device is powered by photovoltaic tells embedded in the tube.
The fragrance emitting cardboard tubes are clustered and distributed in configurations that suit a number of olfactory, visual and functional aims. The scents assigned to each tube are mapped according to the Fragrance Wheel, a taxonomy developed by the fragrance industry for a user-friendly classification of scents in distinct but related families: Floral, Fresh, oriental, and Woody. These categories divide the gardens in four fields that are marked and coded with coloured gravel. These tubes of fragrance distribute samples of this olfactory world evenly across the garden while clusters of aromatic herbs and spices provide focal features for the Fresh and Woody quadrangles. Roughly at the center; in the gap left between the tour scent fields is a more or less neutral territory. This is where a visitor car) take a break and clear with fresh air nose saturated with scent. Coffee beans here substituted for the coloured gravel, in a gesture that references the largely ritualistic practice at perfumes counters that supposedly 'resets' and sharpens the nose for sampling different fragrances.
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