We’ve all heard that scent is a trigger for memory, often referred to as the ‘Proustian phenomenon’, after a story in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time where a character vividly recalls childhood memories after smelling a tea-soaked madeleine cake.

But rather than wait for a fluke of circumstance to ignite a memory, Amy Radcliffe of Central Saint Martin’s set out to create a ‘scentography’ camera that captures scent the same way we might capture something with video or a photograph.

The beautifully crafted ‘camera’, named Madeline after Proust’s story, uses techniques developed in the 1970s (!) to capture scent. There are so many fabulous possibilities where a machine like this could be applied. Here are some of my own:

  • I’ve got a new grandchild on the way. Thank you Bex and Tim. So saving the scent of a newborn comes to mind.
  • Capturing the smell of a New Zealand summer holiday. BBQ, glass of Pinot and all.
  • Your own bed. Imaging being able to rest one’s head on a hotel pillow that smells just like your own.
  • The great outdoors when you’re on a long-haul flight. Whether you’re in first class or economy, air quality in planes leave a lot to be desired.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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