Olivia Clemence doesn’t take smell for granted

Behind a red door in a very old building works Olivia Alice Clemence, our BA Design graduate whose work has made it to the pages of Wired recently. She shares a small and cozy studio with two other creative people, where she was kind to invite me for hot tea (in a Michael Jackson-printed cup) and a chat, on a rainy evening – because we can’t leave all the good stories to Wired, can we?

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I had barely stepped inside and Olivia was already showing me the tools and ingredients of her craft: the distilling kit (custom-made for her) that she uses to capture scents, and her cabinet of around 60 wonderful and unusual smells bottled in small glass containers. The principle and instruments of the steam-distilling process are very old discoveries, but to untrained eyes like mine it looks as if I’m taking a peek at a bit of magic and alchemy. She allowed me to get a whiff of one of her recent works, a perfume designed for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. “What’s in it?” I ask, unable to pin down the unusual tones hidden under the pleasant surface. She tells me: the combined smells of beer, coffee, peanuts, carpet, wood, Subway sandwiches…the essence of the Centre itself in a nutshell (or, a glass vial).Read More »

Kirstin Toedtling: Non-ideal, super fun cities

Kirstin Toedtling graduated from the BA Design in 2012, the following is a summary of her final year project. Kirstin is now selling work here:

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This project envisions a fictional future London- it describes England’s metropolis after the flood. Instead of clinging to typical nightmare scenarios of futures I looked at the possibilities of a changing environment. A city which adapted to demographic and environmental transformations- a warmer and partly underwater future city. In this future city, Londoners climb up skyscrapers, bungee jump off buildings, go skiing on weekends, leave office blocks on waterslides or drift in Thames canals in a gondola.

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 Matt Ward