PDIV – |13 Reminiscent

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng


The theme for a permanent installation within NTU takes us to explore the sense of smell. The sense of smell is an interesting notion that is discovered, though perhaps underdeveloped. It is primitive – for, in the presence of smell, smell molecules will always trigger. Yet it is subsidiary – due to nature of the other more overpowering senses. The sense of smell is important to dictate the experience of an individual. Such is also a subjective concept that is able to drive an individual a point for reminiscing but only depending on the very individual- alone. All these interesting pointers lead us to ask ourselves, “What if a scent can be amplified to be the defining element of a given space?”

Take a deep breath, and dive into [smell] as an exploration of a permanent installation.

[Click here]

Reminiscent the scent sculpture

Artists’ Impression

Reminiscent is a wooden installation that emits smell through its natural scent. It explores the notion of smell being a primitive, yet subjective sense to a human being. By amplifying smell as the defining element in our installation, we aim to allow the NTU students a point for reminiscing about their journey in NTU through the sense of smell, an experience that is unique to each individual. Reminiscent is constructed through the use of untreated natural cypress wood. Inspired by the Japanese folding screen, Byōbu, Reminiscent exist in the form of six panels. The undulating form is inspired by the elegance of a drifting cloth, visualised through the extrapolation from the 3 keywords of ‘Smell’ – Dispersal, Dissipation and Porosity.

Our installation takes us to the wide open concrete space, Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre.  The natural wood structure gives a complimentary contrast to the man-made structure of surrounding concrete buildings. The use of untreated natural cypress wood allows the natural scent of the cypress wood to actively diffuse to the surroundings. Yet, it is exposed – to the rain, to the moisture, to the touch of people. Over time, these factors will constitute a change in the smell and form of the installation that is only unique to NTU. Much like the people of NTU, Reminiscent is in itself a journey that evolves.

Mock-up Construction

Presentation Poster


PDIV – |12 Smells like Teen Spirit

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

Feedbacks from the previous session

The envisioned hanging structure having the quality that drifts with the breeze of wind is not feasible due to safety regulations and naturally heavy weight of wood | Structure needs at least 3 contact points | Chosen location for structure needs to correspond to theme | Relocated structure to be placed beside Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre due to the high ceiling and wide open space | Chosen sculpture to act as a divider while possessing the quality of scent-diffusing Chosen material locked in at Cypress Wood 



Chosen Location:

Tan Chin Tuan Lecture Theatre

Prototype WIP:



Installation to be hung using ceiling to floor wire kit

Action Plan

Prototype Construction:

CNC Prototype, scale 1:15 (in progress of contacting supplier) | Buying of materials (Wire, Casing, Wood, Acrylic Sheet, foam boards)

Presentation Board:

In progress

be continued.  

PDIV – |11 Smelling Wood

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

From the consultation in the previous week, we had really constructive comments from our Professors. This is what we have developed.


The concept of the membrane is our chosen concept, and also one which have been resonating within both Hong Sheng and myself. In conceptualizing, we initially decided on smellscaping a walkway through the walls. 

In it comes multiple issues due to our lack of knowledge and expertise regarding the technicalities of preserving and flowing a base scent.

 After our consultation, our idea of incorporating our installation to a wall is shifted to an independent hanging installation.  

Below lies our visualisation.

Through the reference of dividers and Japanese Byoubu, our installation lies in the notion of a paper drifting in the wind. We made use of our keywords extrapolated from the words used to describe smell – dispersion, porosity and flow – into a form of smell.

We intend to make use of untreated natural smelling wood as our material, placed within an open air space. By having the wood structure left untreated, the natural scent of the wood can be maximized in diffusing into the surrounding space. We intentionally allow the wood to be situated in an open space for it to be open to weather conditions such as wind and rain. 

The exposure of wind will allow the installation to drift, showing a contrast with the natural sturdiness of the wood material. 

The natural scent of the wood will diffuse to the surrounding. Yet the smell will change with time, through exposure with the surrounding, moisture in the air and the variable students that walk through the space. 


MATERIAL – As the notion of smell is the catalyst of our project, we need to source for a natural wood that has scent. Through our research, we look to the use of the Yellow Cypress Wood for the chosen material. Yellow cypress wood has a distinctive scent that is strong 


yet inviting. We chanced upon the material in the form of a bottle and upon further research, we find out that Yellow cypress wood is a durable softwood that is also suitable for outdoor furniture and we feel that the wood is a suitable material for our installation.

CHOSEN LOCATION – We have chosen the walkway in between the lecture halls at North-spine for our installation.

SCALE – The scale will be determined by the location, and the installation will hang about the body length of a person.

ATTACHMENT – The attachment of our installation will need to be determined by the material, and also the number of attachments for each of our 4 panels. TBC

Mock-up Construction

We look to constructing our mock-up for a better visualisation of our concept. TBC

To be continued.

PD-| 9 Smell Progress

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

(apologies for the late progress post)


We began conceptualising the form of smell with our concepts. As we consulted Professor Ker Siang, we realised there is a mismatch of ideals among our 3 concepts. 

As our intention is to capture scent by triggering tactile trajectory, concept 2 and 3 have a clash of idea as both concepts feel too curated in a sense that there is no other purpose of the installations aside from its form, and the trigger of tactile interaction is lost, as the installations feel too foreign for the people to interact with it.

Concept 1 is the closest to our intended target, thus we decide to develop on the concept.

Also during the consultation, the idea of a ‘membrane’ of which a poetic notion of having each individual pass through a ‘membrane’ is being discussed, with the idea of ‘hanging planes’ hanging at the front of a given walkway. As such, every individual has to push past the planes in order to go into the walkway. 

The concept is really radical in the placement of the installation, in which it blocks the airflow of the walkway,  thus separating and allocating a set vicinity to trap the scent.

However, there is a number of drawbacks to this concept. One is such that it forces the users to interact with it, and the trapped scent may very well be nasty due to the nature of humidity of the Singaporean weather.

Thus, both Hong Sheng and I feel that the concept can be further refined.

Smell Development | Research

In the midst of our development, we realised that in order to create our installation in the way we intend to, the use of a base smell is inevitable. As such, we find ourselves faced with 2 huge obstacles.

Firstly, we have to curate a base smell to be placed in within our installation. We will need to create a base smell for that, and we need to justify our base smell.

Secondly, we know that the technicalities regarding the curation of a base smell are not within our expertise. Therefore, we looked at more research based on smell installations that are curated. From these, we try to understand how we can allow the scent to be encapsulated within our installation.

Smell me by Martynka Wawrzyniak


Smell me is a smell self-portrait of Polish-born Martynka Wawryniak. Her installation was curated at the envoy enterprise gallery in New York, in 2012.

Through a year-long research collaboration with a crew of students at Hunter College to collect her scent – of which consist of sweat, tears and hair oil. As such she had to work closely with the research students for a year, of which consists of many laboratory research and tests. 



Smell of Fear by Sissel Tolaas


Smell of Fear is a 2006 smell installation by Sissel Tolaas. It is an installation that curated the smell of twenty men suffering from severe phobias, from twenty different parts of the world.

As part of the curation of the smell, Sissel Tolaas collected the scent of these twenty men at the moment their phobia kicked in, and then is simulated in her laboratory in Berlin called Re_searchLab. Using nanotechnology, the sweat molecules were recreated and micro-encapsulated. This allowed the molecules to be kept within the neutral smelling blinder of the exhibition, and will only be activated by touch. 

As poetic as these 2 installations showcased, both showcased a huge basis of the scientific process before they derived with their outcome. We feel that we do not have the necessary expertise to create the smell within our installation. Therefore, unfortunately,  we feel that we can only base our installation on a conceptual hypothesis.

Moving Forward

However, all hope is still not lost. We looked to local perfumeries to gain bits of knowledge, as well as to solve our crisis.

Jetaime Perfumery

Jetaime Perfumery is a local perfumery firm who has created scents of Singapore, into bottles of perfume entitled Singapore Memories. Jetaime Perfumery also has an upcoming Smell Museum opening in Singapore.

We have enquired with them to seek advice and perhaps look into the way they create the smells. Having already reached out to them, we have not gotten a response yet.

Phoebe the Perfumer

Our ever-helpful friend Grace (thank you!) told us of her acquaintance, Phoebe who is a perfumer. We reached out to her to inquire some knowledge. Below is the summary of our conversation with her.


Client wants to launch a new line of product which requires a new fragrance.

The client will approach fragrance houses with a fragrance brief

The brief will include information on what the product will be, target market, where it will be sold, kind of feel it will try to evoke, colours and mood board, or even an existing perfume for inspiration.

Teams within the fragrance houses will be assembled to work on the brief.

Key figures: 

Perfumers (create formulas, decide what ingredients to use)

Evaluators (Smell what has been created, compared to the brief, evaluate fragrance on actual heads to see if fragrance works according to the brief given.

Perfumer decides the quantity of ingredients to put into the fragrance. Musks (eg. Galaxodite) are used in perfumery as base nodes, for longevity and depth.

The top 5 in Fragrance Industry is Givaudan, IFF, Symrise, Firmenich and Tasksago.

Much to our surprise, which also demonstrated our lack of knowledge in the pursuit of our tackling field, the Singapore industry also actively pursue perfumery to create scents in products. 

As we develop our concept, we look to try to work on the technicalities to the best of our abilities.



Smell Connotation

Back to developing our concept, we decided to extrapolate the notion of smell into form. We did this by extracting a number of words pertaining to smell. 

In the end, we came out with 3 keywords: Dispersive, Porosity and Flow.

Dispersive (adjective) describes the nature of smell, diffusing into the surrounding air. Porosity (noun) describes the human nature of looking into a vent to justify the origin of the smell. Flow (verb) describes the journey of the smell molecules. 

We created a small survey of which we tested our peers to draw with the 3 keywords.

Some interesting aspects of the survey are that the majority of our peers drew flow as a line stretching from left to right. 

Other interesting aspects include: Casey also drew out of the space showing the dispersive action, Darren showed the flow from bottom to top and Jeremy drawing a funnel.

We thank all of you, and we look to develop in the form of smell for our installation.



Concept (a) – Frame

The frame concept is inspired by the idea that a particular scent denotes a particular space. Our concept lies in the Our chosen placement is the open space at Northspine, outside the lecture theatres. 

Our idea is to create a location where NTU students can congregate through the ambiguous form within the installation. Inspired by Verner Panton’s Visona II, we want our space inside to be made of memory foam that lingers with our base smell. Placement of an open space allows ventilation and diffusion of the scent to the surrounding.

Concept (b) – Membrane

Inspired by the idea of smell molecules passing through a membrane. Our chosen placement is the tunnel walkway at north spine.

For this concept, we look into the curation of smell into a visual form. As this concept plays with the height of the walkway, we want our installation to fill the extent of the wall. We strive to create the visual aspects of smell through our chosen keywords, and in using memory foam, we look to create a 3-dimensional art installation, while at the same time defusing our base smell into the vicinity. 

Looking forward, we want to look into finalising the visual form of smell, and to create a render of the installation. We also want to create our base smell.

That’s all for now. Cheers.


PD-| 8-1 Announcing Smell

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng


As previously mentioned; despite being primitive, smell is subjective, personal and under developed in human beings.

The presence and absence of odor cannot be compromised, you either smell it or you don’t. Though the tolerance of the strength of smell is adapted through the cultural capital of the individual, one cannot reject smell (sans hyposmia and anosmia people).

We justified our main aim in utilizing sense of smell as an installation that is idealized to emit through dependence on the very people that interact with it.

More Research into Smell

We looked upon more research to give ourselves a better understanding into the uncharted territory of smell.


Mystery of the Sense [Smell]


The video listed above talks about smell in  pertinence to the human body. One interesting perspective from the video is the human race’s tendency to “shy away from the person’s scent (natural odor); yet creating odors to lure someone special (perfumes)”.

The video also explains the biological sequence of how smell is collected and triggered through the olfactory bulb within the system of a being.

Perhaps due to the date filmed (1995), many interpretations were rather biased, but the video still provided us necessary information of how the sense of smell can be described.





by Marcel van Brakel, Wander Eikelboom, Frederik Duerinck

(book is coated with a fragrance that lingers when you read the physical book)

SENSE OF SMELL is an international co-creation and research project. The ideas of smell is being interpreted more artistically and more emotionally.  

Through really artistic works, Smell is re-represented and re-interpreted in various artistic directions such as installations, artistic exhibitions and products.



Smell expert Sissel Tolaas breathes deep and then follows her nose in Melbourne


This article is shared to us by Ker Siang (thanks professor!). The article follows Sissel Tolaas who was behind controversial art experiences such as recreating the sick smells of World War I.

One particular quote that caught our attention by Sissel from the article is:

“Every nano-part of this planet emits a smell – there is no such thing as a ‘clear’ smell,” Tolaas says. But the world is full of false smells, which mask the true, natural odours that we deem to be repulsive. “We live in a world that sanitises, deodorises, masks. Certain smells need to be there, but … reality is covered up on so many levels – so many commercial products cover up what is really out there and mask it.”

-Sissel Tolaas , 2016



All in all, the researches done were to give us more impetus in tackling the subject matter of smell. We looked at both the scientific and artistic notion of smell. Through these, we have more inspirations for our deliverable.

Ideals of the Poignant

‘Poignant’ defines both a pungent stench, as well as the arousement of strong mental sensation.

We feel for the word as it expresses similar direction in  which we are projecting towards our outcome.

We want our outcome to evoke a emotion through the scent collected to the people of NTU.

To justify the fundamental of smell as primitive form, our subjects has to create a notion of intuitiveness in interacting with our outcome, therefore our idea lies in utilizing the capture of scent through the human notion of  tactile trajectory.


More to follow in the upcoming post.


PDIV – |7-1 the form of smell

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng


As discussed in the previous week, we have narrowed down our direction into an installation that takes in the smell of people in NTU. As such, the smell that the installation is idealised to emit is dependent on the very people that interact with it. 

We envision our installation to take ‘form’ in the collection of scent only after a given duration in a particular location. 

Our thoughts are really complicated and difficult to explain, so to give you a clearer understanding, below is an analogy. 

Disclaimer: Bear with us…




We have previously put much focus on the given location and environment as our starting point for our installation. However as we looked deeper into the idea, we realised that a given location is only deemed from the objects, people and activities happening within it. In that very sense, the outcome of the collection of smell will be determined by the very catalyst of the human activities happening within the vicinity.

We looked at the article shared with us by Fabrizio regarding scent marketing. We understand the idea of a given scent in a particular place allows familiarization of people to a brand. In the case study of Changi Airport, a distinct perfume is created to induce travellers and locals a familiar ‘home’ scent. 

In the case of our idea, we want to twist the very idea by amplifying the very scent within a given location, determined by the objects and people of NTU. We have previously confirmed that at different parts of NTU, there is a distinct difference in a scent of the given vicinity, and by collecting it can we amplify the scent.

To put our direction in a more layman term, we found a similar everyday activity that we are acclimatised to do that in a way that epitomise our idea – the rubbish bin.

The primary function of a rubbish bin is a container that holds trash, with a cap that induces people to throw rubbish into the void it contains. As a stand-alone, the single entity of a rubbish bin is scentless. 

Rather, the form of the rubbish bin induces trash to be stored within it; and the human activity of throwing trash into the rubbish bin stores trash inside, resulting in a stench created over time.  As such, the rubbish bin is characterised by the trashes that are dumped into it.

In the sense that the human activity of throwing trash characterised the rubbish bin through the result of stench forming over time. The rubbish bin can then be seen as a tangible installation that collects and emit the very smell.   

Similar to the function of a rubbish bin, we would like to create an installation that collects the smell of activities of NTU students; by inducing human activities in the form of interaction with the installation.

Still… bear with us…please

At this point, we realised that we are working towards creating an ‘anti-installation’. We understand that the purpose of our project is to enrich the lives of NTU students through a positive outcome.

Perhaps in your mind at this current moment, the outcome of our installation is somewhat negative. Perhaps over time, the smell collected and emitted will be cluttered with the stench of cigarettes, grease, trash etc. Perhaps the analogy of the rubbish bin is a negative example that trails your mind into thinking that way.

However, at this juncture, we cannot foresee the outcome of the installation, for the outcome is variable. Rather, can we envision the collection of ‘positive’ scent, just like the pages of books, off-cut wood, green cut grass etc? (Of course, these are all idealistic interpretations, but you get my point…right?)


From suggestions of our peers and Professor Ker Siang, we look upon more similar research. 

Yankee Candle

Yankee candles are known for characterising each distinctive scent with a extravagant name or phrase.

In a way, the Yankee candle epitomises the ideals of smell-branding.

By giving an extravagant name to each particular scent, Yankee candle generates interest into a user to want to find out what exactly the scent smells like, whilst in truth has already defined the scent to the user even before they smell the candle- with the very name.

By ‘planting’ such information to the user results in the user being induced to combining the notion of the name to the smell, into the mind.

We feel for this, as we envisioned our users to be induced to our inviting installation in a tangible form which induces interaction. Then, with the emitted smell allows a point of reminiscence in the user.

Arte Povera

Untitled 1968 Jannis Kounellis born 1936 Purchased 1996 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T07074

Literally termed ‘poor art’, Arte Povera is an art movement originated from Italy from the late 1960s to 1970s where artists created art through unconventional process and material.

The movement can be seen as a starting point for conceptual art.

Some notable art pieces are as follows:

From Surface to Surface 1971, remade 1986 Susumu Koshimizu born 1944 Purchased with funds provided by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T12822

Long Weekend 09: Robert Morris

Long Weekend 09: Robert Morris is a 2009 recreation of the interactive art designed by American artist Robert Morris in 1971. Robert Morris’s installation was prematurely closed due to safety concerns of the reaction of the audience. Long Weekend 09: Robert Morris shows an interactive exhibition which allows people to interact with platforms, rollers, tunnels and ramps.

(Watch video)

More to follow.

PDIV – |6-1 the form of smell

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

Review of the comments from Exercise Sponge conducted the previous week

Exercise Sponge conducted during the previous week was a study of both material testing; as well as the collective data of absorbed smell at the various location within the premise of NTU.

We understand that the depiction of the form of smell is the ultimate aim of our project. We also know that the choice of material used will heavily dictate the final outcome, hence we conducted the study. Another important factor lies in the chosen site for placement of the final outcome. 

The study proved that within a short span of 40 hours, we were already able to use a readily found material in ‘magic sponge’ to have a collective data of smell. We uncovered the familiar scent of wet grass to ambiguous sniffs of faint. As such, we were able to open up questions and in such ignite conversations with our peers regarding what the smells were, which we feel really embodied our direction towards the aim of our outcome.

Moving forward…

Looking forward, we have some points to filter and confirm:

1. We want to set the main objective of our project. Whether our installation is to serve as a point that collects scent or to give off a scent.

2. We hope to source for a more sustainable material to fit the permanent installation.

3. Lastly, we also want to work with a feasible location in mind. 

Objective of Smell in a Permanent Installation

Smell is an olfactory trigger that is instantaneous and primitive, in beings. Smell is also the sense that is perceived and then acclimatised the quickest through sensory adaptation. Smell is usually the companying subset of the series of senses in a being. We find interest in the notion of smell, thus we took it on as the main theme of our project. Our aim for the final outcome is to curate smell within the premise of NTU as the strongest element of a permanent installation, such that people in NTU are able to remember the installation through the sense of smell.

As we looked upon curating smell in a permanent installation, we came upon 2 directions, both of distinctive differences – one is to formulate the smell within the NTU premise into a form that exudes a certain scent ; the other is to allow the smell of a certain vicinity of NTU to be absorbed into the installation. As such we stand at the crossroad of 2 distinctive different directions, we decided to weigh the pros and cons of each idea to have a clear diction to pick our chosen direction:

1. A permanent installation that gives off a distinct scent that embodies the school as a commentary.


* A resulting outcome will be interesting and distinct
* Creates an identity within a certain space
* Can be created through scent-giving material choice


* Time constraint for the study of NTU to formulate a distinct olfactory sense
* Use of scent-giving material does not tie into the theme of NTU for NTU students, but purely on the choice of material
* Dictating a universally-pleasing scent is difficult to muster as smell is subjective, not objective
* Maintainence of such permanent installation is not easy

2. To amplify the scent of smell through a permanent installation that absorbs smell within a vicinity.


*  Resulting outcome creates the identity of a certain vicinity of NTU through amplification of scent
* Uses scent that is amplified from scents already witihin a premise 
* Resulting outcome 'grows' with time, allows an element of surprise for students to uncover

* Smell absorbing materials sourced thus far are not sustainable
* May not be pleasant smelling scent, rather may result in a odour
* Maintanence easier compared to Idea 1

As we weigh the pros and cons, we are more inclined towards idea 2; thus have set our minds to concentrate on curating the allocated scent to be diffused into our proposed permanent installation.

Curating smell

Curating the absorbed smell, thus amplifying the smell is improbable, simply because the smell is formless. 

We began to look at forms that invite or suggest smelling. Some examples given by Ker Siang was to look at air freshener or perfume bottles forms, and how embalming/ taxidermy works to find possibly inspiration.

Use of weather-proof materials that also smell absorbent is not easy to source for, and we are currently still in the process of sourcing.

Alternatively, we would not want our choice of material to dictate the discovery of smell in the installation, yet it has to fulfil its task of absorbing smell whilst maintaining its sustainable feature.

One consideration is to have the people inside NTU to be able to interact with the installation, and through that process allow the diffusion of the smell of the people into the installation to be absorbed and in turn, amplified by diffusing the scent into the surrounding air.

As such, the installation will be able to absorb smell from the very people that interact with it. Perhaps, both I and Hong Sheng have constantly perceived the environment to be the factor of smell but it is instead the people, activities and that are happening within the environment that dictates the smell. 


Proposed Location

(view video link)


As we considered a suitable location for the placement of our installation, a chanced discovery of this particular location came to me and Hong Sheng.

In the video seen above depicts crowds of people walking through the sheltered walkway. Yet, all have failed to realise the spot that is designed and paved, right beside the walkway. 

We feel for that particular spot. We questioned the intention of having that spot designed and paved. We drew parallels of the ‘neglected’ spot with the sense of smell. The smell that is adapted to pave way for other senses. 

We feel that the location in a way shows similarity with the usage of smell as a sense, and we feel that the location embodied the sense of smell. As such, we view this as a potential location for our installation placement.

To be continued . . .

PDIV- |4 smell research

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

As we reviewed the feedback from last week, idea 3 regarding smell-absorbing idea was the most interesting concept to develop. Thus, we took into consideration of smell-absorbing agents as our main topic for research.


Nasevo is the nickname given to Ernesto Ventos, a recognised perfumer and creator of scents. He has since presented books and artworks with regards to smell.

* Unfortunately since most of his published articles are in Spanish, we are unable to fully comprehend his points of view.


Smell Colour: chemistry, art and pedagogy by Ventos, Ernesto

Book published by Nasevo. Tells of the radical way of looking at art with regards to smell.

Book features works from all around the world, based upon the criteria of olfactory agent. Book showcases the notion of olfactory senses that can be classified as chemistry; and how it can exist in the world of perception.


Excerpts from the book

Javier Peñafiel (España, 1964)

(Natural greenery, chlorine, bleach)

Even if the person who provoked it disappears, the smell remains. 

Is desire provoked? Can democracy be provoked?


Mayte Vieta (El cebo, 2003)

(White flowers)

Invisible, it has the virtue of surprising, it appears when you least expect it, it incubates like the little buds of spring, like past times, faraway places, the reunion with a loved one, absenses, little particles in the air, it transports us back in time, unpredictable.


Bill Durgin (Cyc 9, 2007)


I have now begun to associate in my mind memories of the session when I took the photos with the memory of the smells given off by the various objects that accompanied the model. 


We also explored materials which actually absorb smells. We feel that the choice of material will play an important factor in creating our project. We found that carbon filter sponge, newspaper, peace lilies and sandalwood do take in smells to remove odours/filter air particles.

Carbon filter sponge

Carbon filter sponge is a material that we looked into previously.

Carbon filter is a material used in industry for purification and removal of contaminants in both air and water. It is a water-proof material that is also shapable.



The use of newspaper is an interesting choice of material that also absorbs smelling agents. In addition to being a smell-absorbant, the prints on the paper make the material visually interesting and malleable.

We, however, felt that the property of newspaper is not water-resistant and also could be a potential fire hazard, therefore, we will keep the use of newspaper as a material in view. 


In our research regarding natural air filters, we came across plants. In the report ‘NASA Clean Air Study’ published by NASA in 1989 is conducted to find out how plants improve air quality. The focus of the study looked at plants that thrive indoors in low-light conditions and actively remove pollutants from the air.

The peace lily is a plant that is considered the best natural air filter. The peace lily absorbs the pollutants from the air through the leaves before sending them down into the roots of the plant where the microbes in the soil will break down the pollutants; while providing moisture into the surrounding air.

We take particular interest in both the form and the natural air-filtering property of the peace lily.

Air Plants

Another interesting plant that we uncovered is the air plants that are mainly used in indoor spaces to clean the air by absorbing nutrients from the moisture and dirt fibres found drifting in the air.

In addition to their properties, we again take particular interest in their alienating form.


Through the vastly different projects taken from our research, smell as an olfactory agent can become the trigger to a certain memory. Yet that certain memory is subjective to each and every individual. This is an interesting point that we would want to look into to develop further.

We would like to create an exclusive olfactory trigger to any individual in NTU through our project. By creating a particular project that allows people to interact through the olfactory agent, in a way we are creating a ‘starting point’ of the experience of the NTU individuals.

We hope that our project can serve as a point of reminiscence for these individuals come the end of their journey in NTU, through the olfactory agent. As each individuals sense of smell is subjective, their memory experience will be in such a way exclusive.

Our main consideration is to use the olfactory agent as our primary element in our project, hence the outcome should remain ambiguous in the form. One inspiration that we gathered is the Visiona II by Verner Panton where the undulating organic forms, made from bright glossy materials, captured the imagination of a free-thinking society.

We hope to position our project in a place where many of the NTU people can congregate.*

* Points to consider, indoor or outdoor setting

To be continued.

PDIV – |2 the infra-ordinary

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

As we went through the thought-provoking reading ‘The Infra-Ordinary’ by Georges Perec,  one paragraph really resonated between Hong Sheng and me, of which is:

” To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither question nor answers, as if it weren’t the bearer of any information. This is not longer even conditioning, it’s anaesthesia. 

As both Hong Sheng and I started questioning and revisiting the idea of the ‘Infra-Ordinary’ in our everyday-experience within the NTU campus, we came across the idea of smell

Smell is a sensory agent that kicks in within one, as soon as one begets in a new environment. Smell, in that sense, denotes any particular environment. Yet, it is also the sense that acclimatises within one the fastest. Picture yourself entering a somewhat foul-smelling room, and having to stay inside the room for an hour. You would realise that somewhere within the hour, somehow you stopped smelling that strange foul-smell. Being in that vicinity has acclimatised your sense of smell. We found this to be particularly interesting.

Therefore, we decided to use smell as the catalysis of our sculpture. The aim of the sculpture is to amplify smell. We took inspiration from the pollens of flower scents and created an abstract form, with multiple holes where the scent will resonate with the surrounding. By enlarging the scale of the sculpture, a physical form of ‘smell’ is emulated. 

*Unfortunately, the smell cannot be replicated in this post; or any blog post for that matter. 

As we developed upon the concept, we created 2 sculptures. One which a fragrance scent; and another with cigarette-filled foul-scent. While placing the sculptures beside one another, our peers pointed to us that it reminds them of the pair of lungs, which is a chance discovery.

All in all, ‘smell’ is an interesting starting point and we will look to develop the idea.