The Scent of Melbourne City
Discursive Space Exhibition

Briefcase Hero Shot

Please play this instrumental music while you read:

“Smell is the mute sense, the one without words. We are constantly breathing as our nose takes contingency samples of our surroundings. Our senses connect us intimately to the past, connect us in our normal every day life. We adapt to the constant smell in our everyday life. Inhale the Scent of Melbourne City…”

This project explores the Melbourne City identity and spatial experience through scent. The Perfumer carries a briefcase across the City, from one place to another, which connects the smell’s ability to “transport us across space and time”. The Perfumer activates the performance by presenting the 48 essences, organised into 3 chords: Top, the first impression; heart, the theme; base, the trail of the smell impression. This project aims to connect the audience to re-experience the city through smell because it is one of the most important senses that is often overlooked. An exploration of an “immaterial” topic will generate an interesting narrative for tourists, which can also be expanded across other cities around the world.

Perfume Activates Performance

Theoretical Concept

My scent collection is derived by Patrick Suskind’s Perfume 13 essences discipline, which is conceptually organized into 3 chords and final essences:

“Just like a musical chord, a perfume chord contains four essences, or notes, carefully selected for their harmonic affinity. Each perfume contains three chords: the head, the heart and the base, necessitating 12 notes in all.


The head chord contains the first impression, lasting a few minutes before giving way to the heart chord, the theme of the perfume, lasting several hours. Finally, the base chord, the trail of the perfume lasting several days…


A truly original perfume by adding an extra note, one final essence that will ring out and dominate the others… 12 essences could be identified, but the 13th, the vital one, could never be determined”

 – Patrick Suskind (Perfume: The story of a muderer)

Movie: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Suskind

Movie: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Suskind

Perfume Concept Diagram: 3 Chords - Head, Heart, Base & Final essence

Perfume Concept Diagram: 3 Chords – Head, Heart, Base & Final essence

Head / Top:  represented by 4 train stations people will first experience their day in the city.
Heart: represented by 4 main precincts for social activities.
Base: represented by 4 main streets to navigate themselves in the city.

Melbourne smell-scape map

Findings of smells samples represented by colored coded contour lines as identified using smell DNA analysis.
Smell-scape Map

The Performance

The performance will be activated to tell the narrative, by firstly handing out the Smell Menu, audience select their preference for the narrative, the perfumer mix the smell samples and audiences can take a blotting paper to keep as a souvenir.

Sample Narrative:

~ Head Chord ~

#1 Flinders Precinct 

The city awakes with the smell of coffee, oily junkfood, new printed newspapers and the sweat of commuters rushing from Flinders Street Station.


Fresh baked bread, cupcakes and Belgian waffles from Degrave Street lures one into an underground tunnel – Campbell Arcade.


You will discover a vintage store that sells sweet scented candles originally used to mask the sewerage smell that happens every two weeks, which became a big part of their successful business.

The Briefcase

The briefcase is made out of kangaroo leather and opti-form fibre board, using traditional leather hand stitching method. It is portable with sliding handles and roller wheels.

Brief case design



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