Famous Deaths is an award winning scent installation that recreates the final moments in the lives of famous people through sound and scents.

Visitors experience the events leading up to the deaths of J.F.K, Whitney Houston, Lady Di and Moammar al-Qadhafi in first person perspective.The installation consists of four mortuary freezers. Each accommodates one of the above stories. During the experience visitors are positioned into one of the freezers. In complete isolation they are immersed in one of the 4-minute documentary soundscapes and its complementary 8 specific fragrances 



Famous Deaths was awarded with the Sadakichi Award for Experimental Scent at the Art & Olfaction Awards in Los Angeles on the 17th of april this year. The Sadakichi Award is an international renowned award. It honors the work of people who engage with scent in unexpected creative ways, outside of the realm of commercial perfumery. The Art and Olfaction Awards are organised by the Institute for Art and Olfaction which advances public and artistic engagement with scent.

The Jury's verdict: 

“its conceptual integration of scent. This combined with complex technology, a concept that felt on the very edge of pop culture and a collaborative process marked it as a work worth recognizing with a Golden Pear."

Famous Deaths is currently exhibited at the ‘ Es liegt was in der Luft! Duft in der Kunst ’ (There is something in the air! Scent in art) exhibition at the Museum Villa Rot in Burgrieden Rot (Germany). And is still open for bookings.
Last summer (2014) Famous Deaths was on show during the unconference at the Tech Open Air Festival in Berlin 


Famous people who have died tragic deaths can leave ineradicable scars to our collective memory. J.F. Kennedy, Lady Diana and even Whitney Houston... Till this day, the way that they died still toys with our imagination. Many theories about the exact cause of death still revolve around their passing. Wouldn't we like to have been there? 

FAMOUS DEATHS will recreate a famous person’s last few minutes alive by using scent. We all know  the images of that open car that slowly drives through the streets of Dallas, the President happily waving to the crowd. And then those few fatal shots. What must it have been like to be near that car?  You would smell an autumn wind, the grass, the leather car seats, Jacky Kennedy's perfume, exhaust fumes mingled with the somewhat musty scent of that limousine, and then suddenly the penetrating scent of blood, brains and gunpowder drilling its way into your nostrils.

Whitney Houston

FAMOUS DEATHS is a series of four portraits of celebrities and their final moments. This installation will reconstruct these moments as closely as possible, using only sound and scents. This will create a short but intimate experience. By taking away any visual keys, you allow your visitors to experience these portraits more intensely.
J.F. Kennedy 
Lady Diana, 
Whitney Houston


FAMOUS DEATHS is part of the SENSE OF SMELL project, an international co-creation and research project designed by Communication and Multimedia Design (CMD) Breda at the AVANS University of Applied science, the Netherlands, and part of the European cross-border network VIVID (Value Increase by Visual Design).

Within this project, teachers and students explored the amazing world of scent. Their aim was to rethink and prototype the possibilities of scent for strategic communication, way finding, storytelling, interaction and media design. SENSE OF SMELL is on-going and is currently developing prototypes for interactive installations, sensual experiences and immersive events.

A ‘scent printer’, developed within the project will be used to create the sound/scent experience of FAMOUS DEATHS. In September 2014 all research and developments were published in a book of ideas titled Sense of Smell, with concepts and engaging new thoughts on the subject of smell. The book is published by The Eriskay Connection and is on sale now.

Info & bookings
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for SENSE OF SMELL lecture, or FAMOUS DEATHS installation

Lead designers: Marcel van Brakel, Frederik Duerinck.
Coding: Mark Meeuwenoord, Marcel Boonman, Daan Rijnkels.
Fragrances and advice: Caro Verbeek, Peter de Cupere.
Design team: Wander Eikelboom, Thijs Eerens, Simon Kentgens, Martijn de Ruiter.
Students: Iris de Brouwer, Thomas Neelemans, Kirsten Pollé.
Illustration & photo's: Paul van 't Hullenaar