Noticed: Molecule-Designing the Unseen

By Regina M. Connell.

Fifth Floor Gallery, located in LA, is one of our favorite galleries. Robert Apodaca, who founded and runs the gallery, has a commitment to making (since he is a maker himself) an unfailing instinct for what’s cool, and most importantly, a pretty freewheeling imagination. We love that combo.

Coming up at Fifth Floor is something we are loving the sound (and smell) of. It’s a collaboration between Fifth Floor and the tantalizingly named Institute for Art and Olfaction (I.A.O.). It’s called Molecule: Designing the Unseen.

Fifth Floor + Art and Olfaction

Fifth Floor + Art and Olfaction

First, a little background. The Institute for Art and Olfaction was founded in 2012 by Saskia Wilson-Brown. Together with the other I.A.O. collaborators, Saskia and Creative Director Micah Hahn have spearheaded many projects that interweave the practices of art, design, performance and scent-making. In April 2014, the I.A.O. launched the first annual Art and Olfaction Awards, a yearly awards mechanism designed to help celebrate excellence in independent and artisan perfumery. The organization is also active in launching its educational programs, open sessions, and a number of curated arts programs, talks, and partnerships.

(One of these upcoming talks features another one of our favorites: Mandy Aftel. See more on Mandy here.)

The team developed a signature scent and created a limited edition wooden vessel to package it. To commemorate the event, Micah has created a series of limited edition prints to be exhibited in the gallery. These prints are an intricate graphic representation of a selection of the molecules that make up the new scent and are printed with gold foil on heavy linen paper. For the exhibition, each Molecule print will be accompanied by its scent sample.

A print by Micah Hahn

A print by Micah Hahn

What does it smell like? Robert calls it “an olfactory palliative for the urban Angeleno.” The scent itself counterbalances dry concrete, hot shimmering metal and the dog days of a never-ending summer with bright herbaceous citrus, tropical fruits, lush florals, and dry, musky woods. I like a scent with a little edge, always have.

A scent for the Urban Angeleno

A scent for the Urban Angeleno

This collaboration came around the right way: out of sheer mutual appreciation, and it has been a deep collaborative experience. “I’ve wanted to collaborate with the I.A.O. for a long time since they’re such a great and talented group of people,” said Robert. “It’s a great vehicle to showcase the work of Micah Hahn with there being so many levels on which you can experience the prints. The Molecule prints will be paired with a sample of some of the ingredients so you can see Micah’s graphic interpretation while smelling the different scents. As you know, I’m a very hands on person and this allowed me to collaborate with Saskia on the signature scent which was quite a learning experience for me and I even got to do a bit of design work myself to produce the packaging.”

Molecule

Molecule

How do art, craft and olfaction come together? How do you design the unseen? Find out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Details

Fifth Floor Gallery
502 Chung King Court
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Molecule: Designing the Unseen at Fifth Floor Gallery
October 4-November 16, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday October 4, 6-9 pm

 
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