Prof invents the 'Soap of Music'

2012-08-20 11:32
An Austrian professor has invented a bathroom soap that smells of classical music. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

An Austrian professor has invented a bathroom soap that smells of classical music. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Vienna - The ears can delight in the music and words of an opera and the eyes can admire the spectacle on stage, but what about the other senses, not least smell? Soap may be the answer, says Wolfgang Lederhaas.

This Austrian philosophy professor gave up a successful academic career to set up in 2011 a cosmetics firm that, among other things, turns literature, music and visual arts into something you can touch, sniff - and wash your hands with.

Retailing at around €80 ($100) in smaller Austrian bookshops, pharmacies and concept stores is his first collection: A sleek grey box of six bars, each with the "aroma" and "colour" of a work of German literature.

"The cosmetics industry is often very superficial... I wanted to delve a little deeper and give more to customers," said the 36-year-old at his company's sweet-smelling workshop in Vienna.

"Literature is not just about reading, it's about aesthetics. I wanted to make something tangible out of it, so that people can breathe it in... It's about enhancing mundane activities with emotions, with positive energy."

Colour

The box set includes soap versions of novels from the 17th and 18th centuries such as Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque, Heinrich von Ofterdingen by Novalis - Lederhaas's idol - and Hyperion by Friedrich Hoelderlin.

"Basically, just like for normal soap, I put all the ingredients into a pot, stir it and make soap out of," Lederhaas said enthusiastically.

"Everything I know about a particular book makes it into the pot - all the feelings in the novel, the colours, the herbs, the plants that are mentioned, and so on. Everything that somehow inspires me, everything that gives me a clue."

Since Hyperion takes place in Greece, for example, the soap contains notes of olive oil and laurel, while for his soap of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, roses and cedar - both mentioned in the libretto - are evident.

"Of course, putting all this in doesn't mean that it smells nice or works, it takes a lot more than that. The secret is to add something to make sure it smells good," Lederhaas said.

Colour, too, is vital, as is the use of natural ingredients, preferably organic and locally sourced. For The Magic Flute, for example, the soap had to be "bright and orange, not shining yellow but orange", he said.

"That was the starting point," he says, taking a chunk of soap off the shelf and offering it around to smell. "It has lots of citrus fruit notes - lemon, orange, lime, mandarin, grapefruit and so on."

Paintings

Coming from humble, rural origins - there was no literature or Mozart when he was growing up, he said - Lederhaas said his family thought he was mad to give up his job heading a department at the prestigious Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.

And getting the know-how was hard. He went to Karlsruhe in Germany to study the science behind cosmetics and making soap, trained to become an aromatherapist and took courses and exams in perfumery, pharmacology and chemistry.

"You can also of course buy a bar of soap for 20 cents. It also has a story to tell, but not a story that you want to hear. It involves exploitation, the squandering of resources, synthetic ingredients and pollution."

Following the Magic Flute soap, a bar of which was ordered by and sent to legendary Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the next project is a box set inspired by an as-yet-unnamed "important" contemporary Austrian painter, he said.

Paintings, though, create their own difficulties, he said.

"I wondered, how do I do this? I sat down for days, read about the painter and what drives him and inspires him, and wondered how to make a soap."

Thereafter the plan is for a new box set each year, as well as other products not inspired by art but still organic and made with the same passion, such as skincare line due in 2013.

"I can turn anything into soap," he claimed. "Maybe the cities of the world, New York, Paris. If I did a bar of soap representing Vienna it would have to smell of marzipan and Sachertorte [a famous cake] with lots of cream."

It is early days for Lederhaas Cosmetics but initial customer feedback has been positive, he said.

"From talking to customers I know how it works. They come to me and say, 'My whole bathroom smells like The Magic Flute, it's wonderful.'

"Another said: 'I go to the toilet more now just so that I can wash my hands more often."
Read more on:    technology  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 

6 life hacks you simply have to know

A few simple tricks can make your life so much easier!

 
 

For chic geeks...

Device lets disabled people talk through their nose
It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
This is why you should install iOS 8
17 photo illusions that look so real

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Your sense of duty is emphasized and you may put your heart and soul into helping, serving and being there for the community in a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.