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Great Idea: Mood Boards For Smells

Scents can be tough to describe in words, which makes them perfect for mood boards.

If you say something smells like “tobacco,” it can elicit any manner of sense memory–maybe that tobacco was a fine hand-rolled cigar, or maybe it was the stench of cigarettes on your clothing when you woke up hungover from a bar.

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For Haus Interior’s candle collection, the boutique interior design firm wanted a way to describe smells to online shoppers beyond mere words. So the company hired photographer Sully Sullivan to produce a collection of scent mood boards. Carefully curated, cleanly arranged objects fill in the emotions and contexts of a smell that words might miss.


In this treatment, the “Fireside & Tobacco” candle transforms from the written description, “A fresh and woodsy tobacco leaf base mixes with notes of charred birch and cedar,” to a greater, more abstract emotion. A pipe. A tie. A horn-handled magnifying glass. A badger hair shaving brush. A few cigars. An axe. Through these objects, the candle description transcends to its own Wes Anderson character, and we’re left with something more akin to a woodsy vacation’s worth of scents floating around our noses rather than our last random sniff of carcinogen.

Of course, if pipes, axes, and beards don’t get you in the mood for a candle, Haus Interior has several other candle scents available for $35.

Buy them here.

[via Trendland]

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About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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