Sissel Tolaas is an artist and researcher known for her work with smells. Born in Stavanger, Norway and based in Berlin, she has a background in chemistry, mathematics, linguistics and art. Tolaas has been actively working on diverse aspects of the topic of scents since 1990, researching its importance in different sciences, fields of art/design and other disciplines. At that time she developed a “smell archive” collected in over 7,000 airtight jars.
In January 2004, Tolaas established the Smell Research Lab Berlin, for smell and communication/language, supported by IFF International Flavours and Fragrances. Her research has won recognition through numerous national and international scholarships, honours, and prizes. Tolaas founded the Institute of Functional Smells in 2010, and in 2016 became a founding member of Future of Education—a collaboration with the Nanyang Technical University Singapore and The Future Education Platform, Berlin. She and Isabel Lewis have been collaborating since 2014.
As of August 2020