THE DROPLET – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

The Droplet
by Marcos Lutyens
This project was sponsored by The Harmonist


Perfumes: The IAO with Charlotte Vellard
On Exhibition: April, 2018
More information to come.


Perfumes: The IAO with Charlotte Vellard
On Exhibition: September 6-20. 2017
at La Monnaie de Paris



#Droplet2The IAO is pleased to collaborate with artist Marcos Lutyens and The Harmonist on The Droplet.

The Droplet is an art project that creates a space, a meeting point, where water related narratives can be shared and explored. The primary objective of “The Droplet” project is to raise awareness worldwide around WATER conservation, WATER scarcity, WATER Benefits and WATER as the means to extend ourselves and all life forms on EARTH. The project also treats WATER as the creative and poetic medium of the psyche as the anchoring mirror of the unconscious.

The Droplet is a pavilion in the shape of a drop of water defined by a mist envelope. The Droplet creates a chamber within itself that serves as a stage in which to share stories related to the infinitely diverse aspects of WATER. This space will cast its message in the form of evolving conferences, performances and consciousness activities that will take place in and around The Droplet itself.

As The Droplet progresses it will have curatorial content based on the historical role of WATER at the location where it is placed. Through a heightened synesthetic mixture of  Sound, Vision, Touch and Sight, THE DROPLET will allow visitors to experience first-hand the importance of WATER and bring awareness through “conscious participation” for WATER protection and conservation.

The Droplet’s mission, which is part of a larger collaborative project initiated and guided by Lola Karimova-Tilyaeva,  is to be placed at locations around the world to attract experts, artist and visitors to generate awareness and provide fund raising opportunities towards WATER protection.

The Droplet is an ever changing presence as the mist, soundscapes, weather, time of day and visitors change around it.



April, 2018

Droplet, Barcelona will take the form of a projection-mapped sound piece in a public square. This piece will explore the progress of man’s impact on water (and water’s impact on man) in and around Barcelona, through sound, visuals and scent.



For the Droplet’s Barcelona edition, the Institute for Art and Olfaction has created four scents exploring various aspects of Barcelona’s history as it relates to water. The scents were created in response to directives set by artist Marcos Lutyens, and in collaboration with Paris-based perfume student Charlotte Vellard.


Droplet_CavesMedieval Water Caverns
14th Century
Inspired by the mines in the Collserola foothills (the first source of drinking water for the city of Barcelona), this scent explores the juxtaposition of mineralic and human smells. The accord contains notes of minerals, dirt, dank water, human sweat and stale air.

Droplet_GaudiThe Flow of Modernismo
Late 19th century
This scent takes Antoni Gaudí’s work as the visual cue, paying particular attention to the waterfall fountain that once graced the garden of Casa Vicens. Paying homage to the construction phase of the work, the scent contains a brick dust, dry cement and lumber accord, complemented by a magical garden: Flowers, leaves, earth, and – importantly – fresh, cascading water.

Droplet_TyphoidTyphoid and Drinking Water
As the population of Barcelona grew, access to clean water became more problematic, and polluted water led to the death of 16,577 people during the Typhoid epidemic of 1914. This scent is designed to emulate the sound of trolleys wheeling down a hospital hallway, and includes the antiseptic and human smells of an early 20th century hospital: Cleaning fluid, metal trolleys, period medicine, human phlegm and a hint of blood.

Droplet_20thBarcelona Alight
1920’s – 2000’s
Barcelona in the 20th century saw the growth of hydroe-ectric power, and — through a complex process — water became light. The cinema, the streets became populated with animated night life, and whirling light. An homage to nightlife, this accord contains notes of celluloid, neon, electricity, expensive perfume, and the omnipotent ocean air.


More information to come.



September, 2017

Droplet Paris opened on September 5, 2017 at La Monnaie Museum in Paris.

#Droplet will take the form of a projection-mapped sound piece in a public square at La Monnaie de Paris. This piece – 25 minutes long – will explore the progress of man’s impact on the environment in and around Paris through sound, visuals and scent.

Four aromatic compositions created by Charlotte Vellard for the IAO will be disseminated during the performance on September 5, imprinted onto letterpress printed scent cards designed by Micah Hahn.


For the #Droplet project, we asked Paris-based perfumer Charlotte Vellard to create four scent compositions in response to the themes explored in Lutyens’ installation:


Droplet_PreManParis before Man:
This scent is intended to be reminiscent of a breeze of air fresh, before the impact of man. Olfactory facets include resinous trees like cedar, sandalwood and vetiver, supported with a green and damp facet and the scent of the cut grass. The blend is a contrast between air & earth, humidity & dryness.

Droplet_1789Paris in 1789:
Gunpowder represents the revolutionaries – with a strong metallic and a smoky aspect. We can also smell the famous painting “La Liberté Guidant le Peuple” by E. Delacroix. Finally, the blend is topped off by royal notes: The animalic, powdery, dusty Fleur-de-Lys, and the warm perspiring skin of the royal horses.

Droplet_IndustrialRevParis in the Industrial Revolution:
This scent starts with a rose facet to symbolize the growth of socialism and the women’s entry into the labour market, followed by a smoky/metallic/mechanical note, representing the construction of the steam engine and the activity in industrial cities. Musks represent a stronger world, with the expectation of work for all.

Droplet_WaterParis Under Water:
A brackish, dark scent, with the floating remains of human civilization. Our uncertain future is represented by a fishy note and dirty water, with a smoky facet to symbolize the end of industry. The blend is finished with powdery and dusty raw materials to create an aspect of human sweat and decay.


All scents were created by Charlotte Vellard for the Institute for Art and Olfaction in collaboration with Marcos Lutyens and The Harmonist, on location at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles.




Marcos-1Marcos Lutyens’s practice has centered on the investigation of consciousness to engage the visitor’s embodied experience of art. Exhibitions of infinite scale and nature have been installed in the minds of visitors. His investigations have included research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raeilians, synaesthetes, border migrants, space engineers and mental architects to explore how unconscious mind-sets shift across cultures and backgrounds. Lutyens has developed projects that involve our external surroundings. Works include interactions with pedestrian flows, social media dialogue, air quality levels, animal and biological intercommunication.

Lutyens has exhibited internationally such as at dOCUMENTA(13), the 54th Venice Biennial, the Liverpool Biennial 2016, Manifesta 11, 14th Istanbul Biennial, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Royal Academy, the National Art Museum of China, MoMA PS1. He worked in alliance with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev on the 14th Istanbul Biennial, where he also created a large scale installation on a ship, as well as preparing the public program ‘Thought Forms and Brain Waves:  Neuro-Aesthetics and Art,’ which included some of the world’s leading neuroscientists. Lutyens recently launched his book ‘Memoirs of a Hypnotist: 100 Days.’  Present and recent work includes projects at the Guggenheim Museum, NY, the Palazzo Fortuny, Venice, the Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, the Armory, NY.

+ Visit his website



charlotteBorn near Paris, Charlotte’s early attraction to pharmacy led her to discover an interest in the field of perfumery. After graduating with excellent marks in her scientific-oriented Baccalauréat, Charlotte enrolled in the École Supérieure du Parfum in Paris where she specializes in perfume creation while also attending courses in marketing. In 2015, she supplemented her studies with an internship as an assistant perfumer with Marina Ropion at her creative laboratory in Paris. The following year, she interned with Atelier Maître Parfumeur where she honed her experience in sales and marketing, while leading several educational programs related to perfume creation.

In 2017, Charlotte completed a 3 month internship at the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, where she took the lead on perfume formulation projects in partnership with institutions and artists, all while supporting and developing the experimental laboratory and serving as a production assistant on a feature documentary project related to perfume. With a broad and curious approach to the field, Charlotte has honed her diverse interests in scent. She excels at both classic and experimental creative perfumery, with a strong interest in the structures of formulas, history and the link between art and scent. Upon completion of her studies, she hopes to be a perfume evaluator.




The Droplet project is sponsored by the niche fragrance company The Harmonist. With boutiques in Paris as well as Los Angeles, the Harmonist’s concept is based on the philosophy of Feng Shui, which focuses on the perfect harmony between the essential elements of the universe:  Water, Fire, Wood, Earth and Metal. Each of their 10 scents is designed to help the user bring Harmony to its life and use Harmony as a source of beauty.

It is based in its concept that The Harmonist has invited IAO to participate in creating these magnificent 4 scents as part of The Droplet installation. These 4 scents represent 4 different chapters n the history of water and Paris.

+ Visit their website