Less Is More – The Aroma Room

The story starts back in Naples, where Astrid Luglio was born. Since early age she was surrounded by food in her dad’s restaurant and fascinated by the magic it brings to everyday life: its smell, its flavors, its shapes and colors – everything about it was magical. Growing up surrounded by good food and music helped Astrid to develop good taste and learn a lot. After graduating from the New Academy of Fine Arts in Milan with Bachelor’s degree in Product Design in 2011, she worked for clients in Milan and Melbourne, Australia, what made her move there. Upon returning to Italy, she began working with Milan-based TourDeFork, a design studio inspired by food and culinary culture. In 2018, she founded her own independent design studio to work even closer with her clients from Milan, Melbourne, Oslo and Naples. “My projects are often inspired by food, its history and culture. Each piece that I work on represents a focus on the experience that this piece should generate; it is very much an approach that must be experienced with all the senses,” says Astrid about her work.

Two years ago Astrid got invited to take part in a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar tasting. This is a very precious and expensive ingredient that takes up to 50 years to be ready, passing from a barrel to another, each one made with a different type of wood. The production process is almost a ritual, a tradition passed trough generations in some Italian families. When she tasted the vinegar, full of aromas, she was surprised, and a bit upset, that they let participants taste such a rich liquid from a plastic spoon. That’s when the idea to design a Glass for a “smell tasting” was born. Smell is a sense that we use everyday without really being aware. The project begins with a reflection on the importance of aromas during the consumption of food. Designer wanted to create a tool that could help to focus on the smell, allowing to train your nose with the aim to distinguish the aromas and to build a personal olfactory archive.

Few drops of liquid can easily cover the surface of the glass, spreading the aroma bouquet and keeping it inside at the same time. Meanwhile the hole is big enough to welcome the nose, without dispersing the fragrances. In Italian “Camere” means room and “Olfattive” olfactory, like entering an imaginary dimension where you can dive into aromas. With some ingredients you need to warm the liquid upholding and shaking the glass in your hands, after that you have to take the glass from the stem to avoid the contamination of the tasting with the smell of your hands. During the smelling experience it is also helpful to close your eyes, as you will be able to focus more on the feeling. Camere Olfattive allows us to explore unknown flavors to collect a personal olfactory archive. This tool might be suitable to all the specialty liquids, including coffee: “I’ve tried it with coffee beans and fresh grinded coffee because I think that the aromas are stronger in this phase compared to when you serve the coffee. Each ingredient is a world to explore and to deepen and that’s why I would like to talk with an expert and maybe one day, design something even more specific for coffee tastings.”

The packaging of Camere Olfattive is also very well thought of, represrenting the whole project just at a first sight. The texture of it and its color remind a table cloth while colorful spots are food stains. Looking at the packaging, it is possible to recognize some drops of balsamic vinegar, oil, wine, coffee and whisky, all inspired by stains of food left on the tablecloth after a feast. As flavor of anything is a delicate poetry, we want to discover more and more flavors and try new things. Camere Olfattive is a tool that helps us, providing a more narrow experience by focusing on less.