PDIV- |3 smell



Heng Tong 


Hong Sheng

In the previous week we made two models; one with a fragrant scent and one with a foul smelling scent.

Diving more into the topic of ‘smell’, we went on to do more research.


‘Olfactory filaments that allows a cognitive response to the brain.’

Through our research and observations, we found that smell is an accompanying agent with other senses, and we human acclimatize to smell quickly due to sensory adaptation. Despite being one of the five main senses, smell tends to become a subset of the other senses.

Smell is also subjective, a pleasant scent might not be pleasant to others and vice versa. For example, to us, the foul smell which the Rafflesia gives off, is actually a pleasant smell to attract flies and beetles to pollinate.

We can use smell to identify a certain place or memory, like a prominent perfume scent when we step into A&F, an apparel label, or the smell of machinery when we are in the workshop.

As such, our aim is

To amplify scent as a defining element to a given space.

The first concept was derived from a sunflower, morphing it into a seat which can be shared by the public. 

By amplifying the a stalk of the pistils from a bougainvillea flower, this concept is a shelter where people can seek shade or avoid the rain. Similar to the first concept, this concept also gives off an inviting smell to attract people to approach this product.

The last concept, is an idea that was conceived by thinking in another perspective which is to create a smell, instead of a product which gives off a specific smell. This way, the product can possibly be a seat, where a possible material such as a carbon filter sponge which absorbs smell. This would then give the product a unique smell over time, which no other material can give. 


– Ideas tend to sway towards a more literal approach
-Concept 3 could be a direction worth diving into
– Possible to look at other materials or methods which can provide ‘smell’
– Smell is a difficult topic to approach due to its subjectivity, yet could be an interesting project to work on
– Look into materials which has natural fragrance or scent, avoid using man-made scents (air-freshener)
– Take into consideration the location where the product can be placed in NTU and how it can benefit the users who interacts with it.
– Have a story which gives the product its value and identity

Week 2 Response: Jan Chipchase – Calibrating your Cultural Compass

Jan Chipchase has a very interesting way of studying local culture, at least to me. I strongly believe that through activities of a particular timing, it can show how a community behaves, and also functions. Us as designers, we sometimes tend to overlook certain details. Designers sometimes would just do a simple research off the web, at most a simple survey and there they go on with their sketching etc.

However, I feel that we as designers should really get to the ground, to interact and blend in with the local culture so as to gain a deeper understanding of the specific target user, or market. Through understanding and observing the local culture, we can actually see the vast difference between two different countries.

Scene of Singapore MRT when a breakdown occurs.

The above image shows the crazy amount of morning commutes trying to get themselves a space at the platform in Singapore (during a train breakdown), in hope to hop on a train which brings them to their destinations. Train breakdowns in Singapore are getting more and more common, and they can happen in the morning rush hour, usually 6am to 8am.

In my trip to Taiwan a year back, I actually made the MRT my main form of transportation from places to places (buses there were just to confusing). At 6am, I went to the metro station,  there was not much of a crowd, but what I saw was that commuters were lined up orderly, with a clear path for other passengers to alight before boarding on. As compared to Singapore’s queue system, well, there is a path for alighting passengers, but it just gives an impression that the exit path is reasonably narrower.


With this little observation I made as a local in Singapore, and a tourist in Taiwan, I could surely feel that different culture that they have, like how Chipchase has done as to calibrating to many different cultures. Having said so, I believe that we as designers, while designing products/ services, should take into consideration the behaviors of the target market. This would prevent any misunderstandings, which could possibly lead to the failure of our design.


  1. Would it be actually possible for one person to do the research on his own or it would work better in a team?
  2. What difference would it make from experiencing cultural behavior personally to getting a local to fill you in on the minute details of their culture?