Supposedly the first sensory installation at a Louvre museum, an USO – Unidentified Scented Object or OSNI, using the French acronym – is a project in which a surprising visual and olfaction sensation is offered to the visitors. Imagined by Mathilde Laurent, Maison Cartier’s perfumer-creator since 2005, Le Nuage Parfumé is a mix of olfaction, technology and dreams. A poetic cloud floats as if by magic in a transparent glass cube. Visitors are invited to enter this closed space, then take a spiral staircase leading through the cloud. Once they reach the summit, it is no longer about seeing but about scent: Visitors are able to smell notes of L’Envol de Cartier.
The USO installation forms part of the exhibition 10,000 Years of Luxury, running until mid-February 2020.
USO in Times of Climate Change
USO is installed in a tidal pool in the Arabian Gulf under the roof of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Light, wind and outdoor comfort under the roof are generally optimal. However, in the short time since installation, the USO already experienced unprecedented levels of 25-years high water, caused by an unfortunate combination of high tide, new moon, and two 20-year extreme cyclones passing the Indian Ocean within the course of four days, which led the water levels in the Arabian Gulf to rise. Water level was never so high reported at the Louvre Abu Dhabi site. Additionally, a rare heavy rain passed through a few days later.
Due to these intense weather conditions, USO had to be closed for safety reasons and to repair systems and cladding. All teams are working hard to get the installation back up and running very soon and we hope that many more visitors are able to experience this unique art exhibit. We’d like to thank the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Cartier and Bulle for their professionalism.