The Principles of Retrograde Audio Design Inform a Cult Perfumer

Byredo enlists auditory maestro Devon Turnbull on a limited-edition fragrance bottle that pulls elements from speaker design to distribute scents more evenly.

Devon Turnbull is a refreshing anomaly in the oddly unadventurous world of speaker design. In an industry obsessed with making products smaller and more compact, the sculptural speakers made by his Brooklyn-based brand, OJAS, are heavy, brutish, and created from old-school audio parts sourced around the world. Their ultra-premium sound quality has amassed a fanbase that includes Supreme, Saturdays NYC, and the late Virgil Abloh. 

Now it’s captured the attention of Ben Gorham, the founder and creative director of European perfumer Byredo, who teamed up with Turnbull for a limited-edition collaboration called Olfactive Stéréophonique that bridges auditory and olfactory experiences. What makes it so notable? Essentially, the device applies acoustic horn loading theories from speaker design to smell diffusion, resulting in a state-of-the-art bottle. Somewhat humorously called the “BYOJ-01 Biradial Controlled Directivity Scent Dispersion Device” and resembling an alien gramophone, it can distribute smells more efficiently than ever before. 

Gorham and Turnbull, who both share childhood experiences at Hindu temples and meditation halls, also created a custom scent inspired by wooden structures to go inside. The fragrance evokes a temple-like experience while listening to music on a high-fidelity sound system and helps facilitate the transition between states of consciousness. 

“Ben and I had the idea to create a fragrance for the listening room, which I consider a place of spiritual transformation,” Turnbull tells Surface. “We fully immerse ourselves in music and we feel harmonious vibrations on the deepest levels. It’s a multisensory experience. Everything has to be considered: sonics, visuals and olfaction. When it came to delivering the scent, we wanted to do something totally new, that would seamlessly integrate into a mechanized environment and provide sensory reproduction of the highest fidelity. So we borrowed theories from high-efficiency sound wave guides and applied them to the flow of scent-infused air.”

All Stories