Bel Epok

Ode | Publication Design

ODE asks the question: What associations does a favorite fragrance awaken in people who generate or work with images of one sort or another on a daily basis. To get some answers, the ODE team invited 33 professionals, among them designers, art dealers, a dancer, a chef, a pastry chef, models and musicians, to submit a picture and a short statement expressing a memory or inspiration related to a beloved fragrance. Each “personal perfume” is thus delivered from its fleeting olfactory existence and immortalized in an associative visual image: the universal vocabulary of symbolism and imagery makes fragrance visible and accessible to others.

A separate feature focuses on the visual depiction of associations triggered by scent. Here, 13 photographers were each sent a different select and extraordinary perfume in “blind” packaging, without name or identifying features. We asked a series of internationally celebrated photographers, including Markus Jans (Paris), Markus Pritzi (Paris/Berlin), Straulino (New York) and Axel Hoedt (London) to a picture expressing the association stimulated by the scent. The results are widely varied, offering a rare and intimate look at the work of our artist contributors.

The visual content in ODE is complemented by essays on the subject of scent and image, inspiration and association, by writer and neurologist Dr. Jens Petersen (author of the novel ‘Die Haushälterin’, winner of the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 2009, and regular contributor to major broadsheets ‘Die Zeit’ and the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’, et al) and research professor Dr. Claus Noppeney (head of the ongoing project ‘Wissensduft’ at the Bern University of the Arts). In addition, acclaimed author Tim Krohn (‘Vrenelis Gärtli’, ‘Ans Meer’, ‘Irinas Buch der leichtfertigen Liebe’, et al) personifies eight perfumes in short narrative texts.

Service spectrum: Overall concept development; creative direction; supplier sourcing and production supervision - BEL EPOK is the editor-in-chief and publisher of ODE



ODE is a magazine that honors the cultural treasure that is perfume. Centered on perfumes and pictures, ODE gives space to associative images that reflect on fragrance, aesthetically and thematically. The publication is a discourse on the ambivalence between scent – something immaterial and impalpable – and its concrete representation.

For centuries, artistic attempts have been made to give visual expression to fragrance, from allegorical portrayals of the olfactory sense to the symbolic use of floral and plant images. The goal of ODE is to communicate the experience of perfume visually and to explore the idea of association and inspiration.

The name ODE was chosen for its multiplicity of associative possibilities. An ode, the choric song of ancient Greece, is a word still used in many modern languages to describe a lengthy lyric poem delivered in a dramatic, celebratory, often musical form. It is related to the Germanic word odem – breath – and also makes tonal reference to eau de (eau de Cologne).

The interplay of cultural references and contemporary form and content reflects the ODE idea: a thematic design collage to express the experience of scent in word and picture.