Mental Floss Image
As reported in City Lab by John Metcalfe , Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs paired up with the City’s Department of Transportation Vision Zero team to reboot (no pun intended) how people “perceive streets”. They hired artist Alan Nakagawa as the first “Creative Catalyst Artist-in-Residence”. Nakagawa has created haiku on road signs, and other printed media. But the most interesting has been the installation of “Street Perfume” at a Mar Vista bus stop.
Mar Vista has transformed into an area of cafes, galleries and small shops. Nakagawa noted that “There are smells of coffee, food, there’s a lot of landscaping so there’s also soil. There are aromatherapy shops so you occasionally get whiffs of perfume. Then there are the sewers, the gas mains, carbon dioxide, asphalt, and all that stuff.”
So the artist created a long chrome cylinder affixed to a bus stop with the label “Try Street Perfume”. “If they’re bold enough to stick their mitts into the mystery orifice, they’re rewarded with a spritz of hyperlocal fragrance—this week’s is “Economic Development”; “Hollywood Springtime” is next week’s offering.”
Other perfumes have included “Into Town” and “Hollywood Springtime”. Nakagawa actually goes to the Institute for Art and Olfaction and creates the perfumes that are installed in the bus stop cylinder. As the Director of Vision Zero in Los Angeles notes “Alan brought a new way of problem-solving to our team. His ‘street perfumes’ project is just one of the myriad examples where he harnessed the power of art to transform space, influence design, and expose the transportation profession as something that can be fun and inviting.”
And while the perfumes are certainly in the cylinders they are there are as an art piece only. “They weren’t really designed for anybody to wear,” Nakagawa says. “They were designed to evoke conversation at a bus stop.”
Urban Edge Image-Alan Nakagawa