Perfume, Voronoi Regions and Architecture

That would summarize my last project at the design studio. Our theme consisted of creating a “perfume museum” at a site located in the vicinity of the Mogosoaia Palace. (I found it to be a very difficult site – history, tradition, nature etc. how to properly integrate a building in such a rich and precise context is a question that remains open.)

The project’s challenge was to transpose the notion of perfume in an architectural form. Wikipedia suggests many trails. Chevalier’s Dictionary of Symbols suggests some more. Balzac: “Tout parfum est une combinaison d’air et de lumiere.”; Hugo: “Le parfum est de la lumiere.”. Floral motifs, blobitecture, incense and religion, drugs – it was up to you to decide on how to visually speculate perfume.

I was fed up of the meanings and interpretations of perfume. Perfume nowadays is synthetic. Leave me be. Smell chemistry. You can’t contradict that.plansa 1 muzeul parfumurilor


I broke the visual representations of the chemical components of a standard perfume (chemical representations have very strict geometric rules – 120 deg angles, pentagons and hexagons) and got voronoi regions.

Ahhh, sweet metaphor of computational architecture. Isn’t it beautiful? Elegant? Yet it has nothing to do with architecture. Form is detached from function and we are approaching a similar crisis of that of modernism, when the exact opposite happened. People don’t find themselves included in such designs. Computation that strictly refers to form/ellegance alienates architecture from its goals. I don’t trust the starchitect theory as being the solution; it won’t last or it will split us into sculptors and engineers. 

(Please do read that article. It’s a must. It shows past (as in blobitecture and zaha), present(not the “so last year” deconstructivism or – worse even – postmodernism) and pushes through to the question posed by the future.)

Enough theoretical blabber. I’m giving all this computational business some thought. Code in architecture is nice, as long as it serves the people, not just ellegance. (Please do notice I didn’t use the term “function”. I prefer the much more accurate and revelatory word “people” = complex emergent system.)

Here are some pics of the model:


Programmed in Rhino. Finished in Sketchup. Model made in ManualManufacturyCAD(hand glued). Laser cutting here.


8 thoughts on “Perfume, Voronoi Regions and Architecture

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