Intangible Matter

Chanel x i-D

Web-based experience


An online, responsive journey of feminine discovery through the invisible beauty of Chanel No.5 L’Eau.

Experience Intangible Matter here

Created for Chanel and commissioned by i-D Magazine as part of The Fifth Sense platform, Intangible Matter is an exploration of the physical and virtual elements of fragrance, within an immersive digital space.

Lucy Hardcastle was invited to create a personal response to the new fragrance Chanel No.5 L’Eau within an online setting that could be globally accessible.

Using a combination of 3D software and coding alongside production partner Stink Studios, Intangible Matter intends to create sensual storytelling for one of the senses that lacks a visual language, scent, using technology to make the invisible, visible.

The digital framework provided the opportunity to achieve surreal and unseen experiences related to the senses, conveying the potential of online interactive communication for traditional brands.

Existing across five distinct digital landscapes, the narrative wasn’t directly defined by the product, but more about building an explorative world around it’s themes, properties and processes. 

Each one of these visualises a different facet of Chanel No. 5 L’Eau, from the process of extraction and the meeting point of liquid to skin, to the act of bottling and the connection between scent and memory.

Beginning with 2D coding elements, a visual language was developed through textures, surfaces and movements to create an illusion of three-dimensionality within tight bandwidth constraints. 

Inspired by user interaction references from traditional console gaming and placing them in a different context, an engaging user journey was built upon the user having a sense of control as well as reward, that captivates new and young audiences who have grown up in an intuitively digital landscape.

This was developed by the user choosing their starting place, that then provides a randomised algorithm for the order of which they’ll visit each space. 

Each space is ‘unlocked’ by the user’s playful interactions, eventually leading to the final space that reveals a musical track especially made for the project, by music producer Fatima Al Qadiri and vocalist Chris Lee. 

Combining real-time responsive graphics, tactile visuals and sound design, the piece aims to create a world that is as immersive as possible while having identical capabilities and accessibility for all digital devices. 

i-D’s Fifth Sense’s launch page of the project received close to 2 million views, with Intangible Matter itself gaining 150,000 plays, and promotional content on social channels receiving over 1 million views globally via Chanel and i-D respectively.

The site was translated into 20 different languages to support the global reach.

This piece acts as a prominent case study for the potential of narrative-driven branded digital experiences.


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