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Behind the Exhibit: Cartier Scent Cloud

The legendary jewelers pushed artistic boundaries with an ethereal installation

Cartier creates highly coveted hardware, but for their most recent product unveiling, the legacy jewelers moved to the cloud. In concert with Paris’s contemporary art fair FIAC at the Palais de Tokyo last week, Cartier Parfums showcased a scent via an olfactory installation called Unidentified Scented Object – 1, the first in a multisensory series designed to push boundaries of art and put Maison Cartier’s less tangible commodities on display.

Dreamed up by the house’s perfumer Mathilde Laurent, the installation centered around a static gray fog suspended in a large class cube on the steps of the Palais. Onlookers were invited to enter the cube, and upon ascending the spiral staircase inside would be immersed in the woodsy, masculine scent L’Envol.

Scent Cloud at the Palais de Tokyo

Created by German firm Transsolar, the otherworldly condensation effect uses the same principles as Mother Nature: a combination of warm air on top of cold air. The cube itself, inscribed with a modest Cartier decal, echoes the design of the Jean Nouvel-designed Fondation Cartier in Paris, a privately funded contemporary arts museum.

While the minimalist installation may depart from the diamond-encrusted aesthetics of the jeweler’s core product, with follow-up olfactory installations on the way, it seems this “Material Girl”-approved company is making way for the immaterial.

Main image: Scent Cloud at the Palais de Tokyo, courtesy of Cartier

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