PDIV -|8-2 Forming smell

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

After the previous session with Ker Siang, we have set our minds on the direction we are heading towards, which was to collect smell through interaction instead of collecting a specific smell and then amplifying it through our installation.

We finally moved on to ideating and doing some sketches on how we can implement our ideas through forms. We had an important factor in mind that could make or break our installation, which was how we can invite people to approach and interact with our installations. Another factor was how people actually touch, we went on to observe people around us when they use their sense of touch on things.

Hand touching the window on a MRT door
Hand moving across a wall panel

Together with these observations, we moved on to sketching out different ideas.

Idea 1


We thought of the tic-tac-toe game which children play with at the playground where they spin cylinders to either X or O to play a game. Through this interaction, we felt that it was a ‘sure-way’ to invite people to actually spin them if it was an installation, and through these interactions, smells would be collected and overtime, a unique smell would be collected. 

Working on this idea of spinning a unit on an axis, we developed this to be a wall installation where people could interact with the installation as they walk, which makes it an interaction where they do not need to stop and spend time interacting with it. 

Another feature which we chanced upon was when people interact with the installation, these units are constantly changing and when light shines upon the installation, it would cast different shadows at anytime. 

However, there are still factors to consider about this idea. 
1) Size and shapes of units.
2) How does technology play a part? Or does it even need technology so that it does not complicate the installation?

Idea 2

Another idea was conceived when we watched the movie mentioned earlier, Mystery of the Sense. We came across these scene where particles were reaching the smell receptor. We were very inspired by the form and it relates back to our very initial idea of working with smell. 

The idea behind this was, for us human to smell these particles, it has to reach the smell receptor and then information would go directly to the brain. Through this installation, we are making NTU students the catalysts of this product, which means they are the ‘particles’ in that sense, to the giant smell receptor. Through interacting with the installation, smell would be collected overtime and would then create a unique smell. 

The structure could be made with a strong material, and sponges can make up the insides of it where people can interact with it.

Idea 3

The last idea was inspired by a cloud. We call it smell cloud. Through the form of a cloud, we can interpret it as something that is always present yet often neglected, just like the presence of smell. A possible way of implementing this could make use of the first 2 ideas, which is to use the spinning action to interact with the smell cloud, or to use a structure and have sponges filled in it to allow interaction to occur. 

We will have more ideas coming up..


PDIV – | 5 Exercise Sponge

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

In the last week, we were encouraged to try collecting smells with the use of materials, hence we carried out the experiment shortly after. We used the ‘magic sponge’ that was used for the very first class exercise.

We went around school to ‘plant’ sponges and see if they do actually collect smell.

Exercise Sponge

Trekking Route for Exercise Sponge

Objective: Collect various smells around NTU campus through sponge.

Duration: 12 Feb 1800hrs – 14 Feb 1000hrs (approx. 40hrs)
Material: ‘Magic’ Sponge
Weather: Humid, Sunny, sans-rain

1) ADM Smoking Area
2) ADM Water Fountain
3) ADM Verdant Turfed Roof aka rooftop
4) Canteen 2 Bus Stop
5) Sheltered Walkway, Opposite Blk 35F
6) Binjai Hall, Umbrella Shelter
7) Graduates’ Hall Bus stop
8) Fire Assembly Area, opposite Graduates’ Hall
9) Lamp Post along running track
10) North Spine Bus Stop
11) North Spine Fast Food Area
12) N.S3 Locker Area

Images of the locations where sponges were placed at:

*Click on images to view larger

Experiment Observations:

In that short 40-hour-span, sponges did collect different smells from the various locations they were placed in NTU. Different parts of the campus do have a distinct difference in smell. Even though some of the sponges collected distinct scents, we were not able to specify the specific scent.

1) Sponges could be wet prior to placement at various locations for possible better absorption of smell.
2) Duration of experiment can be prolonged further, for weather testing.

Possible site exploration:

1) ADM Verdant Turfed Roof under-utilized area, can be considered as an area for congregation, but may disrupt clean greenery feature of ADM.



2) Running Track, open space





To be continued…

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