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The Next Wave, Part II

Posted: March 6, 2007
A surfer turned sculptor turned fragrance house founder pushes the bounds of niche scents

Nobi Shioya’s entry into the fragrance world is an unlikely story. “I’ve never really worn fragrances or cologne,” he says.

Long before Shioya formed the Shaping Room, releasing provocative fragrances like Jet-Scent and S-ex, he was a sculptor with an idea: what if he incorporated scent into his work? “I didn’t know anything about fragrances at that time,” he says. “I didn’t even know about the existence of perfumers. That’s how removed I was from the whole fragrance industry.”

Conversations with his gallery led to Shioya’s first introduction to perfumery. “We contacted Firmenich,” Shioya says, “and within a week or so I received the first sketches.” Working with Jean-Pierre Bethouard, the artist quickly developed the scent he was looking for.

“At that time it was very primitive,” says Shioya. “What I did for my first experiment was to just scent the whole space by burning candles with this particular scent. We were burning three or four candles a day.”