The Future of Fragrance Competition: At the Royal College of Art & ISIPCA

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Why and how will consumers want to wear fragrance tomorrow? What benefits will they find? What technologies will allow consumers to use fragrance differently?

On June 27, 2019, these questions were addressed at the Royal College of Art in London, where four recent graduates of the ISIPCA MSc Scent Design and Creation program presented the fragrance embodiments of the concepts developed by RCA Fashion Design students around the future of fragrance.

Twenty-five years ago, we introduced the “Future of Fragrance’ as a competition to RCA fashion students, challenging them to think about the evolving fragrance market including customization, smell memories, retail innovation and technology.

This year, in April, twenty RCA students traveled from London to Paris to present their ideas to an IFF Jury headed by Judith Gross, our Vice President, Creation & Design, Branding and Marketing, Fragrances. The jury chose four finalists to develop their concepts and compete for the IFF prize.


Each of the RCA finalists were paired with ISIPCA graduating students The range of concepts presented explosive new ways to imagine fragrance use in the very near future.

Yvonne Lim, RCA, presented a concept targeted to working women called ‘Soft Power’. This concept can be personalized with a smart phone application that activates a customized delivery system. The bottle accommodates six flacons, each with a different scent, that are activated via a pneumatic pump. Each ‘favorite’ combination of fragrance can be saved on the app to use again, but also affords the user the ability to create an infinite number of new combinations.

ISIPCA’s Shin OBA in creating a fragrance for working women, wanted to seek a new green note. He chose a “green mango” accord as the key element of the fragrance adding a floral accord, using Turkish Rose oil and French Narcisse Absolute (made by IFF’s LMR Naturals) to add an elegance and a femininity. Shin suggested two types of fragrances, each created by changing the ratios of the six accords and demonstrating the customization aspect of the concept.

RCA’s Celia Frönich’s concept ‘Déjà-Sent’ was inspired by her academic research to capture ambient scent memories of a place and time utilizing 3-D printing to deliver scented candles to consumers. Celia referred to the ‘experience economy’ as a target audience.

Andrew Everett, ISIPCA, created four different scents for Celia’s ‘scent map’ of the German parliament building: concrete, carpet, fresh paint, and old man’s aftershave. Each scent was meant to evoke the ‘imagined headspace’ one would experience upon entering different areas of the Bundestag, serving as a humorous and literal souvenir of Berlin.

Andreas Bucher, RCA, presented his vision ‘s c entences’, using the alphabet as new way to enlarge the universe of scent language.

Sofia Gavriil, ISIPCA, analyzed the 26 different letters of alphabet olfactively. She created accords and bases inspired by the shape of each letter. Sofia used these accords, bases and some single ingredients to express olfactively the shape of each letter of the alphabet. These particular accords, bases and ingredients provide the ability to create different mixtures with letters and words and poems; in other words, they develop new dimensions in language through the creation of olfactive concrete poetry.


Sofia and Andi worked on an interactive installation to bring the concept to life and allow interaction by visitors who could create their own fragrances based on the combination of letters.

And the RCA winner was Andrew Bell, who developed a new way for young creators to bring their fragrance concepts to public via an inflatable flacon nested in a new magazine’ Sachet’ – bypassing the traditional large financial investment with accelerated speed-to-market. Andrew’s concept presents a new way for both consumers and designers to engage with fragrance.

ISIPCA’s Qianyun Zhu created fragrance concepts that embodied the project. Avium, the fragrance crafted by Qianyun for the first edition of Sachet magazine, was inspired by Andrew's womenswear collection concept. Andrew extracted daily elements and put them into his design. Accordingly, the fragrance notes consist of black pepper and calone, which can be easily found in day to day life. There is also an imaginary flower accord called purple buddleia. The real flower grows in industrial wastelands and doesn't smell itself but its perfect violet color embodies Andrew's collection. 

 The energy was palpable and the air resonated with delicious smells only experienced before in dreams. Judith Gross, in awarding the prize, congratulated all saying “This year pushed the bounds of creativity that should have more visibility. IFF will work to get these concepts greater exposure through a future exhibit open to the public.”


 We love to hear your thoughts on the future of fragrance #futureperfumer – tell us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.


Start here for a career in fragrance – apply now for the Master of Science Program in Scent Design and Creation program.

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