Most scent diffusers simply blast an aroma outward, in no particular direction at all — just whichever way the spout is faced. Some spit upward; others puff vapor out the front. Byredo's Olfactive Stereophonique, however, is different; it disperses its aroma like a speaker would sound, evenly throughout any ~320-square-foot room.
Although it looks like a speaker — more specifically, a horn — the device itself is incapable of producing sound. Instead, it's meant to be used in conjunction with a hi-fi speaker system. For the duo behind it — Byredo's Ben Gorham and speaker designer Devon Ojas, whose friendship "just felt natural" — Olfactive Stereophonique is about resurfacing memories and maintaining rituals.
"When I started Byredo, I would create products from a completely subjective place. I would tap in this idea of ‘collective memory’ or ‘collective emotion’ and eventually you realize that your position is more about proposing and inspiring, or igniting an emotional memory," Gorham says. "The intent for this object is really to redefine the way we think of scent and the way it coincides with all of the other senses, including sound."
For Gorham and Ojas, the scent dispersed by the device — it comes packaged in 10 separate capsules — conjures the "incense used in Hindu and Buddhist temples and the evocative smell of ancient wooden structures." It's based on "childhood experiences of Hindu temples, meditation halls, and spaces for reflection and worship." The form, however, is a reference to Ojas' work, which focuses on hi-fi speakers.
"It’s a very specific scent that brings solemnity to a space and allows you to sink into the moment," Gorham tells Gear Patrol. "Devon and I both see music listening and fragrance as ritualistic practices, so hopefully this can inspire others to start their own rituals around scent and sound."
And one totally could: The capsules can be diffused in two hour cycles (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off). If you do this ritualistically — meaning not non-stop — a single capsule should last 50 days. Plus, it's a dry diffusion, so there's no upkeep, no worrying about an ember, flame or overheating; and the capsules can be swapped with other ones without carryover, meaning there's no residual aroma infused into the capsule after it.
Beyond simply smelling nice, the project is a one-of-a-kind art piece, powerful enough to exist on a shelf long after you've run out of capsules. "It’s such a special object that can add so much to whatever space you put it in," Gorham says.
Notes: Clove, Incense, Ylang, Vetiver