Perfume collection highlights the scents that might soon disappear

ollection of scents that might disappear because of climate change
© Catherine Young

Artist Catherine Young has created a line of scents that are threatened by climate change. Smells like honey, wine, coffee and hardwoods are featured in the Ephemeral Marvels Perfume Store, which is part of the permanent exhibit at The Mind Museum in Singapore.

Young has a residency at The Mind Museum, where she has been creating The Apocalypse Project, a “speculative design research inquiry” that explores how the world will be impacted by climate change, should humanity continue on its current emissions trajectory. The Apocalypse Project also includes Climate Change Couture, a collection of garments designed for a much hotter world.

scents that are threatened by climate change© Catherine Young

To create the Ephemeral Marvels Perfume, Young collaborated with the Swiss fragrance company Givaudan. “The scents are not for sale and are meant to raise awareness on what we could lose because of climate change,” said Young. “For me, a sensory project was more effective in getting people to think about this issue.”

Some of the scents are less literal than peanuts and coffee. For example, scents like “ice” and “coasts” are more evocative, suggesting how whole habitats may disappear under rising seas. “Because of the Coasts perfume, I was able to talk about Kiribati and island nations that could disappear because of rising sea levels, to children as young as nine years old,” Young said.

scents that are threatened by climate change© Catherine Young

There are eight scents in total: ice, coasts, wine, coffee, honey, hardwoods, eucalyptus, and peanuts. “Coasts” is Young’s favorite perfume, because it reminds her of childhood memories at the beach in the Philippines.

Young hopes the future explored by The Apocalypse Project never comes to be reality, and wants her work to encourage people to take action. “I hope that this project contributes to a conversation that inspires us to live better,” she said.

You can learn more The Apocalypse Project at Catherine Young's website.

Related Content on