For many of us, the smell of books is almost as important as their design and the content we find within. The fresh smell of newly printed matter and the musty aroma of a crumbling tome are magnificent olfactory reminders of the physical labour of love that culminates in the object clasped in our hands. For one designer however, the enjoyment of simple literary smells has developed into an obsession.
Bernadette Engel has embarked upon a quest to discover and catalogue the numerous different aromas that can be found within the libraries of the world, secret scents that tell unique stories of the books from which they emanate. She’s catalogued a whole host of different smells – from the delightful to the disgusting – in libraries across Frankfurt and Darmsadt, sniffing the insides of 134 books and compiling her findings into a beautifully designed (undoubtedly fresh-smelling) volume, For Madeleine. The typographic contents break down the intensity of smells discovered into percentages as well as noting their catalogue numbers and locations.
We suggest you get hold of the book, get on a flight to Germany and allow Bernadette’s scented guide to take your on a strange sensory journey across an aromatic landscape.