Interview with designer Jade de Robles Rossdale (Jd), regarding views on design, and for the award-winning design Osmotheque Installation.

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Interview with Jade de Robles Rossdale at Thursday 21st of April 2016: DI: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?
Jd : The main idea behind Osmotheque is to give emotion to digital messages through smell. In a world where we communicate more and more digitally, we have lost the emotional barrier which this installation tries to recover. Smell is one of our most primary senses, it carries so much emotion and meaning allowing the participant to make their message become alive in a different way, to explore the world of smell and to smell actively rather than passively.

DI: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?
Jd : The main focus was to create an analogical system that enabled a connection between something so human as is smell, with something technological as is a whatsapp message. It tries to give the participant a tool with which to understand their message on a different level alltogether, through smell.

DI: What are your future plans for this award winning design?
Jd : The idea is that this laboratory will keep on experimenting between the limits of smell and design. How can we use such an emotional sense to create designs that interact with the participant and make people question the way they use something so regularly. So far with Osmotheque, I have given workshops about smell and lectures about the world of smell, teaching people how to smell actively rather than passively.

DI: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?
Jd : It took a good month and a half to really nail the concept and understand how technology and smell were going to work together. After weeks of research, realising what lacked within the world of smell was key when linking this to the way we use technology, where we are capable of saying anything to anyone across a screen.

DI: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?
Jd : Scent has always been a passion of mine, as is design. I knew I wasn't going to create something with technology, but rather use technology as a means. Because of a very personal message which was really negative, it made me realise how we use technology, how we have no fear, no emotion because we are interacting with a screen and not with pure and real emotions.

DI: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?
Jd : The work will be produced by myself for the time being, but the idea is for the research to be implemented into other areas of research within both technology and scent.

DI: What made you design this particular type of work?
Jd : I have always been interested in the cross between design and something more 'artistic'. How can we use design to approach us to a more artistic way of understand a reality so close to us.

DI: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?
Jd : A lot of designers that had worked with scent before were the main influence for the project. Their designs used scent as a medium, they used it actively, as the primer ingredient to make the viewer understand something in a completely different way. I also had two tutors, Raul Goñi and Ariel Guersenzvaig help me throughout the whole project.

DI: Who is the target customer for his design?
Jd : The target customer would be someone interested in the world of scent and design / art. This sort of installation is very unique in the way that its purpose is more reflective than effective. It tries to convey a deep message which is why I would imagine this installation to be displayed in a museum or gallery.

DI: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?
Jd : This design is unique in that it has been designed from scratch with no real previous antecedent. The laboratory aspect means the person actually partakes in an activity that usually isn't associated with design; creating a fragrance for a message.

DI: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?
Jd : The name of the design is a scent library that exists in France. It is similar to that of a headquarters for scents from all over the world. It is a name that has a powerful feel to it because it talks about a whole world of smells, like a library, thousands of scents combined to describe one thing.

DI: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?
Jd : I used digital programs for developing the graphic identity and then I worked with an iron mason to create the structures that would hold the different parts of the installation.

DI: What is the most unique aspect of your design?
Jd : The fact that you can create your own fragrance, with your own composition formula, that corresponds to a specific message you want to explore. It is unique to each one, it tells a story for each person and it adds emotion to something so unemotional; telephone screen.

DI: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?
Jd : I collaborated with an iron mason for the structures and a friend of mine who is a product designer who helped me with the structures that would hold.

DI: What is the role of technology in this particular design?
Jd : The role of technology was secondary in this design. There is no technology needed for the actual installation to work, but you need it in order to use it. The installation and what the participant does is completely analogical but they need a telephone in order to use it.

DI: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?
Jd : I conducted lots of research to find out what was emotion people were using less to communicate with, and simultaneously how we were communicating online. I found that 63% of relationships were made online in 2014 and that only 10% had consciously used scent before when communicating. That was my starting point.

DI: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?
Jd : The main challenge was how I was going to combine scent and technology together, and second of all how I was going to make it understandable and simple enough. How was I to explain this combination of the two and make design it so one can use it effectively.

DI: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?
Jd : I decided to submit my design because I want to share this project with many people, and for it to reach as many people. I didn't think it was going to win an award but I thought I would at least give it a go!

DI: What did you learn or how did you improve yourself during the designing of this work?
Jd : I learnt so much about myself and about how to work with such different mediums at the same time. I grew to be really precise with details which I wasn't ever that picky about - and that has made the project in many ways. Without the precise and accurate details this project would be difficult to understand.

DI: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
Jd : I would like to encourage people to smell actively rather than passively and to rethink the way we send emotional messages on digital screens!