Selfridges Fragrance Lab


Created by The Future Laboratory and designed by Campaign in 2014, Selfridges ‘Fragrance Lab’ “offers a personalised journey to a fragrance that represents your character” (Matthew Brown for Echo Chamber) The pop-up concept held at Selfridges London Oxford Street store put on a unique, innovative, and most importantly, completely personal retail experience. The experiences existed in different stages whereby the choice of scent given to consumers was dependant on how they behaved at each stage. The experience itself its completely immersive and full of creativity, by firstly being greeted by staff dressed in lab coats at a clinical check-in desk. The aesthetic of the experience and the layout of the space fully embodied the concept of the idea. Providing a completely sensory experience with customers being provided with an iPad to fill in questionnaires as well as an iPhone with headphones to be led by voiceover into the different rooms within the space. Completely interactive, each room offered a different sensory experience for the customers, being “invited to touch, sniff and interact”. When customers reach the end of the experience, they are given smells from different vials containing variations of their signature fragrance based upon the information they provided throughout. “The end result is a personal ‘prescription’ detailing their character and the key ingredients in their selected perfume.” There was also the option to complete this process in a much quicker and free way. After completing the questionnaire on the provided iPad you are then given a fragrance number  where a member of staff then explains your personality and customers can try samples. Having this type of immersive, creative, and sensory experience available for members of the public in a high-street retailers is such a brilliant concept and the execution was just stunning. Curating a fully personalised experience, asking “what scents remind you of home?” and “can you bottle a memory?” brought a special quality to the experience that really hone in on the importance of individuality and identity that are so important. And with that combined with the amalgamation of the scientific and creative elements in terms of concept and visual aesthetic make to create an overall innovative space, transforming a store of consumer goods into a fully realised personal experience. I am very interested in looking at other forms of personalised experiences, as this pop-up very much reminds me of the documentary I watched previously, Alive Inside whereby a social worker created personalised playlists for Alzheimer’s patients to listen to that triggered their memories to return to them, thus giving them their live and identity back to them for a while.  The use of creative outlets in order to break ground in the area of memory cannot continue to be overlooked as there are so many beautiful achievements made in the creative sphere that paired with scientific research and experimentation can lead to a future solution.

Natasha Perkin

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