Lifestyle / Society

On the nose: Step inside the laboratory of smell artist Sissel Tolaas

By Hili Perlson

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From bank notes to invasive seaweed, mounds of earth to warm human flesh, virtually everything known to this planet has a distinctive smell. In a studio-slash-laboratory in Berlin, Norwegian fragrance scientist and artist Sissel Tolaas is cataloguing the lot of them – with over 10,000 smells and counting in her expansive library. In between art shows and Balenciaga presentations, for which Tolaas concocts specific smells, we meet the woman putting the spotlight on smell