Cestrum nocturnum by Marissa Zappas

Thursday 24 Oct
 – Saturday 01 Feb, 2020

Our perfumer-in-residence, Marissa Zappas, takes inspiration from nighttime flora to create her fall scent.


Everyday, we encounter hundreds of smells and are rarely conscious of them. Since there is no language for smell, we often rely on feelings, colors or tastes as scent descriptors. Attempting to put words to smell is an exercise in memory. Marissa encourages each patron to practice describing what they smell in the space. Her olfactive designs aim to encourage experiences of pleasure, repulsion, playfulness and uncertainty. For the Fall installation at Elsewhere, the art in general is darker and more sensual, so I wanted to create a scent which reflected how life transforms at night, particularly through smell. Night time is generally associated with more pungent odors, so I didn't want to neglect those and there are certainly some funky notes, like indole and mushroom. Night blooming jasmine is the primary note because it's so heady and narcotic. I wanted to add that dream-like component to Elsewhere and scent is a really powerful way to subconsciously impact a space or memory.


Marissa Zappas is an anthropologist turned perfumer. She received her MA in Anthropology from The New School for Social Research (2015). Her work explores the history of perfumery as it relates to the history of cemetery construction, specifically during the French Revolution. She also writes about perfume as an object of anthropological inquiry and how it acts as an extension of the body. She trained her nose under the mentorship of Master Perfumer Olivier Gillotin at Givaudan (2015-2017). She is now a freelance scent designer and founder of Redamance, a collection of perfumes, where each fragrance is an homage and olfactive portrait of an overlooked woman in history. Redamance centers the experiences of women and their relationship to their bodies through perfume. She is also a poet and dancer.