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Fläkt Woods creates air system for NY 'scent opera'

Colchester-based ventilation firm Fläkt Woods has created an air system for the world’s first scent opera, at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

Scent opera is a new art form that tells a story purely through the senses of sound and smell. Audience members listen to music in a darkened theatre while a scent organ designed by Fläkt Woods triggers scent microphones attached to each seat, emitting suggestive scents to tell the story.

Fläkt Woods Systems European sales director Neil Yule said: “We collaborated with Aeosphere - a multi-sensory media company – to create something truly unique.

“Led by Stewart Matthew, who developed the original concept, and renowned fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel, the Aeosphere team commissioned composers Nico Muhly and Valgeir Sigurdsson to create a stunning musical score, whil Fläkt Woods developed the scenting technology.”

The system works on compressed air, which flows through a main feed pipe. It is ducted to pick up the smells from the scent organ, using 35 individual cartridges specially packed to deliver the vapours as a safe, non-contaminating gas.

Under pressures of up to 150 psi, and distilled through a complex system of manifolds and valves, the air is discharged through thin tubes, connected to the flexible, goose-necked microphones secured to the arm of each seat.

The air is released with minimal turbulence, so the smells are instantly powerful and targeted. The system is self-cleaning using a specially formulated purging solution.

Mr Yule added: “A rapidly growing market has emerged for the scenting of large spaces, including retail, hotel and leisure applications. Working in close collaboration with our partners at Aeosphere, we are developing a number of scent-related solutions that can be incorporated into our existing HVAC systems.”