Onclaude - Empowering Design Innovators Beta



It's time for a virtual coffee...Smell it up and send it to a friend!

9th of September 2013, 0 comments, category: Innovation Stories

by Onclaude

A unique sensorial exploration project at Le Laboratoire in Paris invites the audience to experience new coffee “sensations” and engage in olfactive communication through a brand new device called OPHONE.

Conceived and designed by David Edwards, visionary founder of Le Laboratoire and the ArtScience Labs network in France, the US and in South Africa, in collaboration with his former students at Harvard Rachel Field and Amy Yin, MIT electrical engineer Eyal Shahar, designer Baptiste Viala and Le Laboratoire's team, the OPHONE allows olfactive messages to be sent instantly around the world and be received as a series of letters or sounds.

If we could compose and share olfactive messages, would we be able to better communicate our thoughts and our emotions and maybe overcome the barriers of language, culture and even species?

The OPHONE embarks on this hard challenge and tests the floor with a first "olfactive communication" experiment that involves coffee tasting. Before enjoying the ultimate joy of sending an electronic coffee odor through the OPHONE, the public is actually invited to participate in an immersive experience called "The Olfactive Project" which is divided into 5 acts: “listen” to, smell, taste, eat, and finally drink coffee.

Open until the 15th of September, the Olfactive Project is an unusual exciting journey into coffee, which at the end of the day you might find, as we actually did, quite educational as well as entertaining. You will unexpectedly learn that tasting a traditional Italian fast-coffee (Espresso) in a proper way might take as long as tasting a Siphon coffee. At the same time, you will find out that there might actually be a faster way to get a shot of energy than by rushing into a bar and asking for an “espresso ristretto” (extra strong): the AeroShot™, a nice design object invented by Edwards, allows you to “inhale” a unique blend of 100 mg of caffeine plus B vitamins which starts working right away—anytime, anyplace. 

To enrich the The Olfactive Project experience, Le Laboratoire has partnered with Toby’s Estate Coffeeworld-renowned Australian coffee specialists, who encourages the public to discover the hidden “sensorial quality” of coffee. 

Finally, an upcoming exhibition by artists Carsten Nicolaï and Ryoji Ikeda and master-perfumer Olivier Pescheux is going to make the experience even more exciting. The show, which is planned for next year, will celebrate the opening of a new Laboratoire headquarters in Cambridge (US), between the M.I.T. and Harvard Universities.

Event Info

The Olfactive Project

Dates and Opening hours

Friday – Saturday – Sunday – Monday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Free admission


Le Laboratoire

4, rue du Bouloi – 75001 PARIS T. 

Useful links

Le Laboratoire website 

Le Lab Store 






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