There are some who believe that fossilization can occur very rapidly (see: fossil teddy bears), but the conventional definition of “fossil” dictates that…
a preserved specimen is called a “fossil” if it is older than some minimum age, most often the arbitrary date of 10,000 years.
from Wikipedia’s entry on “fossil“
While fossilized PET bottles have yet to naturally occur, I happened to come up these two fossil bottle images.
Details about each, after the fold… [Read more…]
Here’s an addendum to our earlier post about the short-lived “Tandem Shampoo” brand from 1960.
I found the photo above in the 1960 Bristol Myers Annual Report. It shows three key Vice Presidents conferring “on Tandem Packaging and promotion.”
During 1960 several new products, among them Tandem, a two-step shampoo packaged in a distinctive dual cavity bottle, were test marketed.
The company’s optimism about the new product did not last very long. We know that Tandem Shampoo remained on the market for a couple years, but I could find no mention of Tandem Shampoo in any subsequent annual report.
More Tandem Addendum, after the fold… [Read more…]
Thin sheets have long been known to experience an increase in stiffness when they are bent, buckled, or assembled into smaller interlocking structures. We introduce a unique orientation for coupling rigidly foldable origami tubes in a “zipper” fashion that substantially increases the system stiffness and permits only one flexible deformation mode through which the structure can deploy.
Origami tubes assembled into stiff, yet reconfigurable structures and metamaterials, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)
While the writers envision important applications for “zippered tubes” in structural engineering, robotics, nanotech and space exploration, there are also some more modest packaging applications that we can imagine.
Zippered tubes are based on the same Miura-ori folding that we’ve seen employed in experimental packages like collapsible bottles and faceted aluminum cans. (See: Pseudo-Cylindrical Concave Polyhedral Packaging)
A single “zipper tube” could be used as an accordion “squeeze pack” and these packs could be coupled together in larger multi-packs. A variety pack of flavored yogurts, for example.
Further thoughts on the packaging potential of zippered tubes, after the fold… [Read more…]
This photo (from the MoDiP collection) shows “a male worker” forming a bottle shape from clay using a contour gauge and cardboard templates. Apparently this is how plastic bottles were designed prior to the advent of 3D modeling software.
I like the staged quality of the photograph — the fellow in the background has his drawing board tilted up like an easel for the shot. (Doubtful that he really worked that way.)
I like the style and cultured demeanor of the man in the foreground — his beard, his sweater, his glasses, the way his hair is combed straight back, etc.
Yet, despite their artistic trappings, these chaps are described as “male workers” rather than bottle designers. Was this just a happenstance phrase assigned to the photo during MoDiP’s archiving process?
Or did BXL, as their employer, prefer this more egalitarian job description. As if to say: Everyone’s a male worker. Unless he’s female. Or unemployed.
The contact sheet from Schneebeli’s bottle designer photo shoot, after the fold… [Read more…]
Package as poetry: Let us consider the packaging implications of Rimma Gerlovina’s cube boxes from the mid-1970s.
Small cubes with typed inscriptions on the outside, each one (often) containing an additional typed message on the inside.
As with retail packaging the information on the outside of each box concerns the contents. In this case the “contents” are conceptual in nature — a continuation of the information on the outside, an answer to a question posed. Some of Gerlovina’s boxes are surprise packages with unexpected contents. A poetic game of bait and switch.
Before the cubes came into life, the experiments with visual prose and poetry preceded these sparks of conceptual imagination that appeared as flashes of an immediate experience “boxed” in the cubes.
In 1974, little cubes, the portable objects of three-dimensional poetry, burst forth as if a fountain, overflowing our entire apartment in Moscow. Made with one breath, they were given away as gifts to our friends, artists, and poets, with easiness and spontaneity.
THE CUBES, Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin
Rimma Gerlovina, Cube Poems (photo from the Reed College, Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery digital collection)
More cube boxes, after the fold… [Read more…]
On the subject of book-shaped bottles, here’s an interesting example for today’s Packaged (past tense) column: Helena Rubinstein’s container for her Best Seller® fragrance, first launched in the late 1940s.
Helena Rubinstein’s latest cosmetic, designed especially to meet the demands for an inexpensive cologne, is “Best Seller,” packaged in a book-shaped bottle, complete with book sleeve.
Modern Packaging, 1949
Who designed this bottle? Ladislas Medgyes.
Comparing the patent drawings to the little illustrations of the “Best Seller” bottle, it appears that the book-shaped bottle’s design must have been simplified.
Better known, perhaps, as the designer of Helena Rubinstein’s Lucite bed, Medgyes was also her package designer.
LADISLAS MEDGYES PASSES
Ladislas Medgyes, art director of Helena Rubinstein, Inc., succumbed January 25. He joined the firm in 1935 as art director of packaging.
Glass Packer, 1952
Note: I’m frustrated that I haven’t been able find a good color photo of a surviving bottle. The bottle was designed with a printed outer sleeve — the “book jacket” with “best seller” set in lower-case letters in a serif font. Possibly the bottle itself did not have much in the way of branding. If so, that might explain the difficulty in finding any intact packages. If anyone has a photograph of such a package, I’d love to see it.
More about “Best Seller” packaging, its trademark document and some advertising for the product, after the fold… [Read more…]
“Post–Post Etiquette” Sarah Palmer, 2009
Photographer, Sarah Palmer in her 2009 photograph entitled “Post-Post Etiquette” uses the Emily Post book, Etiquette: “The Blue Book of Social Usage” as packaging for an egg.
While the title of Palmer’s photo seems to conflate “post” as a modern art prefix (post-modern) with Emily Post (the author), the photograph also serves as a parable about packaging.
Books may have “content” but they are generally not thought of as containers in the literal sense. The traditional exception to this rule has been the book safe — a hollowed-out book with a secret compartment. Book safes have historically been used to hide valuables from theft (cash, jewels, etc.) and illicit objects from detection (liquor, tobacco, firearms, etc.)
This post, however, is not about the traditional uses for a book safe. We’re more interested in the use of hollowed out books as packaging.
The egg is one of those natural structures that’s often cited as a “perfect package.” We’ve noted before the paradox of such a perfect package requiring an additional layer of protective packaging. Packaging an egg to withstand a one-story fall is a frequently assigned art school project. Palmer’s “book safe” for an egg might very well fulfill the requirements of an egg-packaging assignment.
What else is being packaged in a book? We have 5 answers, after the fold… [Read more…]
The design is credited, not only to Satoh, but also to Ken Okamoto, Hiroshi Kurisaki and Yuri Yamazaki.
Differentiated by color and photographed tendrils of smoke, their incense packaging design works in a similar manner to Satoh’s 2006 spice and herb bottle design, which essentially assigned colors to a product line of flavors. (see: Taku Satoh’s Spice Rack Synesthesia)
Here, colors are associated and assigned to a product line of odors. (See: Colored-Olfaction)
More photos, after the fold… [Read more…]
photo via: Branded in the 80s
Is is possible to get “museum fatigue” without ever having been to the museum?
The museum in question is The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Calling this place a “museum” is a stretch. (Maybe this is why it’s called a “world” rather than a museum.) While the brand certainly has a rich history, worthy of study, you have to be a little skeptical of a museum whose main function is so clearly self-promotional.
The World of Coca-Cola is the place where the Coca-Cola Corporation can pull together under one roof the many meanings that have been made of Coca-Cola over 105 years, and forge them into an official history of Coca-Cola, and an official Coca-Cola ideology.
Ted Friedman, The World of the World of Coca-Cola, 1992
I started looking into The World of Coca-Cola after seeing the photo above from Shawn Robare’s Branded in the 80s blog. It shows an exhibit of beverage bottles and cans within a sort of Venn diagram of drip shapes. A diverse collection of beverage packaging, apparently representing the multitude of beverage brands owned by Coca-Cola.
Robare writes that this was the “highlight” of his tour and comes up with his own name for the exhibit: The Wall of Awesome.
While my visit to this place has been merely “virtual” I have been tireless in my pursuit of more information about this particular exhibit.
I found another photo showing the left hand beginning of the “drips” with a chronology of dates below. I can’t tell what story is being told and can find nothing about the exhibit on the Coke museum’s web site.
from Down by the Bays: “Things they make in different countries. It was fun to see different or old versions of drinks.”
Most of the information available online is about other parts of the museum—the large bottles at the entrance and the free soda at the end of the tour. Most visitors were either suffering from the truncated attention span associated with “museum fatigue” or else this exhibit was just not their favorite part.
Thankfully, there were a few other like-minded visitors who documented the “drips” exhibit for us… [Read more…]
Lucy Norman’s 2007 CAPtivate lamp from MoDiP’s collection is a packaging-related object featured in connection with the upcoming Provocative Plastics conference to be held this month at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).
Regarding the lamp:
CAPtivate lamp is designed by Lucy Norman under the name of her company, Lula Dot, set up to upcycle London’s waste into lasting beauty. The lamp was assembled by Watford Workshop, a registered charity that provides training and employment for people with learning disabilities, in 2007. The armitage to which the caps are screwed is made from damaged plastic PET bottle performs (injection moulded bottles before they are blow-moulded into their full shape) supplied by Artenius Packaging. The caps are donated from each home game played by West Ham United. The caps are removed from bottles sold in the stadium in order to prevent fans from using them as missiles. The lights are sold with 50 caps with the intention that buyers will personalise the light with caps that they collect.
Regarding the Provocative Plastics conference:
Plastics are pervasive. They are now used in manufacturing more than any other material group and have thus shaped the modern world. They are also widely used as a creative medium. Nonetheless, they are controversial: for some they are beautiful and adaptive; for others unauthentic and destructive.
This conference provides an international forum for scholars, art & design practitioners, and members of the plastics industry to examine the past, present and potential of plastics in a balanced way, juxtaposing the positive with the negative. It is expected that the conference will play a key role in developing a realistic understanding of the meaning of plastics for society and in influencing how plastics are perceived and deployed in the future.
The conference will be held on September 17th and 18th at the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB).