We’ve heard some interesting things said about Glasgow over the years but nothing compares to this latest project undertaken by designer Kate McLean. She has deduced that the city smells of, amongst other things, wet moss, diesel and Lorne sausage and subsequently decided to create a unique ‘odour map’ to officially document her findings. Sadly, ‘Christmas pudding’ didn’t feature. You should’ve waited till after our Christmas party nights in Glasgow in 2012 to print the map Kate!
The Sensory Maps Project was unveiled at the Glasgow Science Centre on Monday and features a multi-coloured map charting the various scents of the city, along with bottled versions for people to get a whiff of themselves. Based on her own findings along with the opinions of local residents, visitors and the city council, the project drew some interesting conclusions. The city’s tube, the Clockwork Orange, is akin to a ‘warm, humid, metallic sponge’, whereas the ‘smell of hot Bovril’ dominates the air at Ibrox, Celtic Park and Firhill football stadiums.
Having previously created odour maps of windy urban areas such as Manhattan, Paris and Edinburgh, McLean points out that Glasgow’s still air and heavy rainfall means smells are concentrated in the areas in which they are created, thus making the resulting map more accurate than previous efforts.
She did manage to document the scents of Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street in the city centre, deducing that perfume was the dominant one at play. Luckily the majority of the 2012 Eventa Christmas parties in Glasgow will be taking place in these areas, so you won’t be catching any whiffs of wet moss as documented at the city’s Necropolis Victorian cemetery.
“I believe the most precious moments of travel are captured and carried with us not through our cameras but through our senses. While our visual sense dominates short-term memory of places, smell has longer memory associations,” stated McLean excitedly at the launch of her exhibition. Being lovers of good food and the scent of snow-covered trees at Christmas time, we are only too inclined to agree!