Forest. City. Fragrance. This motto describes the recent two-day watercolor workshop held by the Symrise Perfumery School. For the workshop, the current trainee class went on an art safari to Berlin. Guided by two artists, they translated their impressions of the forest and city into watercolors, and these in turn into fragrance creations. Symrise has incorporated this type of cross-category element into the curriculum for its trainee perfumers. Inspiration techniques such as these are designed to help embed creativity as a strategic focus in the fragrance-making of young perfumers from the outset.
The market for fragrances is growing rapidly and is constantly changing. Every year, many hundreds of creations enter the market. Manufacturers want to offer the right fragrance for every taste, which places high demands on the creativity of perfumers. Symrise therefore pays particular attention to designing its training accordingly. It includes classic elements such as learning about fragrance raw materials, accords and technological aspects. Included in the curriculum this year, the Symrise Perfumery School has offered a selection of art workshops to learn about inspiration techniques.
The first workshop took the young creatives to Berlin. The artists Pia vom Ende and Christian Kölbl took them into the world of watercolor painting. They explained how (sensory) how they can capture impressions and situations on paper with paint. On the first day, the five trainees explored the forest with its flora and fauna. For hours, smells and sounds provided inspiration for some very colorful pictures. Inspiration thrives on contrasts. Therefore, on the second day, the group of five immersed themselves in the vibrant big city: passing people, screeching trains, busy stores merged into a multilayered soundscape. Some very vivid olfactory impressions led to emotions and associations for further works of art on paper. The combination of both days with their impressions finally formed the basis of a complete watercolor series.
Back in Holzminden, the trainees used these impressions to create five fragrances. They creatively reflect the diversity of the group:
Alicia De Benito Cassadó from Spain calls her fragrance “Saturn 100101.” Her accord combines the scent of outer space with that of new technical devices in the form of cold amber notes. Christopher Pickel from the United States drew his inspiration from the contrast between nature and industry. In “Pig Sneaker,” the scent impression of new sneakers mixes with animalistic gourmand notes of a street food vendor. Gabriela Gerbi from Brazil combines elements of nature and city in her fragrance “Ash Garden.” For her, the opposites come with something unifying – nature as a source of energy for urban life. Attiya Lebogang Setai from South Africa emphasizes the soft powder notes of the lilac in the Spandau city forest in her fragrance “Lilac in the Forest of Berlin.” Shangyun Lu from China dives into poetry with his fragrance “Forget-Me-Not.” The scent of lilac on a gloomy day reminds him of a poem by Dai Wangshu, a Chinese proponent of the symbolist movement.
“Artistic activities, such as painting, can augment a special gift,” explains Marc vom Ende, senior perfumer at Symrise and head of the Perfumery School in Holzminden. “We wanted to achieve this effect with our art workshop for our budding perfumers. They learn to develop their special gift, i.e., the ability to draw inspiration from very different sources. That will help them come up with creative ideas for our customers in their creative work to come.”