Ice Bottles & Structural Packaging


Two recent structural packaging designs for bottles resembling ice.

1. Finlandia’s “melting ice” bottle was introduced last year, replacing their earlier bottle with the faceted “mountain-shaped punt.”

Finlandia Vodka®, known for its pristine vodka and innovative package design, opens a new chapter with the introduction of a new bottle, dubbed ‘melting ice’…

Webb Blevins, global design director for Brown-Forman led the design vision for Finlandia and joined with Hirst Pacific Ltd to redesign the structural packaging of Finlandia Vodka.

Their advertising (by Bruton Stroub Studios) for the simulated “melting ice” bottle somehow positions itself as a manifesto on honesty and a critique on “gratuitous ad campaigns.”

2. The Bofrost Brand juice bottle by Design for Business is a PET bottle designed to resemble a large block of ice.

A Google translation from their website:

…the unique selling proposition for the frozen food service.

… Form Designer Rolland Altfater took up… the form of a block of ice as a model for the design of the new bottle shape. Scribbles of an asymmetric shape, and computer animations yielded no really satisfactory result. Only the realization of a basic form in clay brought to light the necessary suppleness and aesthetic form.

… The shape of the bottle has been realized in polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Whether frozen or thawed, the bottle is clear and the “ice” as a form said immediately: Bofrost — frozen directly into the house.


Bottle Glorifiers

Top left: “Three Bottle Mountain” from Light God; on right, upside-down ambigram bottle in Lucite ice cube from–IF” (Ital Forniture); 2nd row left: “Smirnoff Ice plastic bowl” unit from Multi Art Lighting Limited; on right: “Crystal Gem Base” from; 3rd row, left: ice bottle glorifier from Summit-Craft; on right: “Ice Cube Single Bottle Glorifier” from ECVV; bottom row: “Ice Wall Bottle Glorifier” and a 2-bottle glorifier unit from

Similar to “glamorizers,” bottle “glorifiers” are well-named. What are they? Special display units designed to make a bottle look more dramatic and, well, glorious.

Most bottle glorifiers are lighting units and lot of them feature simulated ice, but there are also a few of them that are figural sculptures, specific to the brand…

Maker’s Mark bottle glorifier by Markenglass

See also: Maker’s Mark Trademark

(Another one by Markenglass and some kinetic bottle glorifiers, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Ice Cube Bottles

Turning now to another kind of “ice” bottle with fewer implications of class warfare

Unlike yesterday’s bottles resembling precious gems, today we have real ice cubes which are not a metaphor for diamonds. Just regular “envy-free” ice cubes that come in an egalitarian plastic bottle.

The earlier of the two patents is Rikio Matsumoto’s “Combined Bottle and Ice Tray” on the right from 1972. The patent drawing on the left is from Philip A. Weeks 1992 patent for a “Combination Water/Ice Cube Bottle.”

Of the two, Matsumoto’s is the only one that I could confirm has actually been manufactured.

(One more ice cube bottle patent, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Brilliant Cut Gemstone Bottles

Top left: Isklar bottle by Blue Marlin; center: Ramlösa bottle by NINE; on right: “Diamond” bottle by Cristiano Giuggioli; below: “Lady Million” perfume bottle by Paco Rabanne; on right: Givenchy “Ange ou Démon” perfume bottle by Villéger Summers Design; below that: a Jennifer Lopez “Deseo” perfume bottle; 2nd row, left: a Bombay Sapphire gin bottle by Karim Rashid; center: a Johnny Walker crystal decanter by LINEA; a Tous H2O perfume bottle; bottom row: the Johnny Walker”Diamond Jubilee” bottle

A lot of bottles for luxury goods are designed to look like cut gemstones. Seeing such an opulent assortment, I can’t help but imagine that every once in a while, maybe 1% of the time, a homeless person collecting bottles and cans will open up this treasure chest of a recycling bin full of bottles like these.

Of the products that are most often contained in a jeweled bottle, there seem to be three main categories. Liquor and perfume are no surprise as cut glass decanters and perfume bottles have been around since the dawn of the aristocracy.

The water bottles, on the other hand, are little surprising. Partly it’s the association of “ice” with gemstones. So it is that Isklar glacial mineral water gets a crystalline, jewel-like bottle.

With his “Diamond” bottle for the imaginary Aqua Carpatica water brand, Cristiano Giuggioli seeks to highlight the “preciousness” of water:

“…the purest water, chooses to undress every plethora and to dress up light. The light exalts the preciousness of water, for this reason Diamond is the perfect bottle for the perfect water.”

Beneath the metaphor, however, is the darker implication that water is becoming a luxury product that you would willingly pay a king’s ransom to keep drinking.

See also: Elizabeth Royte on Packaged Water

Package as Truckage

Truckaging: packaging designed to resemble a truck.
(A subset of vehicular packaging)

We got us a convoy of four examples:

1. Box Play for Kids sells stickers that turn empty packages into toy trucks. (Among other things.)

2. Martine Camillieri makes polychrome toy trucks out of plastic bottles. (via: Unconsumption)

3. “Pepsi Holiday Party Bunch” was a 1994 truck-shaped promotional package containing 9 collectible soda cans. (from: Soda Can Collection)

(Truckage #4, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Food Glamorizer(s)

I recently swiped this from my Mom: a 1963 Popeil Brothers “Food Glamorizer.” I don’t think she was using it to glamorize food much, seeing as it was still its original box with instructions and all.

I can see why she saved it. Printed red, black and metallic gold, the small carton features some well-tooled 1960s graphic design styling, including a pattern of “glamorized” fruits and vegetables, a diagrammatic illustration of the product, and an atomic “PBI” logo.

“Food Glamorizer” is such a great name, describing not only its use in the creation of decorative foods, but also its own transformation from what is essentially a potato peeler into something glamorous.

Invented by Samuel J. Popeil who’s son (Ron Popeil) went on to found Ronco the following year. Samuel’s company was Popeil Brothers, Inc. or “PBI.” Compared to the package design of Ronco products that would later be sold on television, the Food Glamorizer’s box is a model of tasteful sixties restraint.

A lot of Ron’s Ronco devices were actually invented by S.J., the dad, but the product design and packaging of earlier Popeil Brothers products, like the Food Glamorizer, reflect a different graphic sensibility than the later, telemarketed Ronco products.

(Transparent food glamorizer on right)

S. J.’s gadgets were hardly high tech, but they earned attention for their sleek designs. Timothy Samuelson, the former curator of architecture and design at the Chicago Historical Society and now the cultural historian for the city of Chicago, is the owner of one of the largest collections of Popeil products from the era. Samuelson published a book in 2002 to celebrate the Popeil design aesthetic and declared the items from the O-Matic line as “some of the classic contemporary designs of the times.”

Remy Stern, But Wait … There’s More!: Tighten Your Abs, Make Millions, and Learn How the $100 Billion Infomercial Industry Sold Us Everything But the Kitchen Sink

There were later versions of the Food Glamorizer sold under various trademarks (“Kitchen Magician,” “Salad Queen”) but these packages still used essentially the same graphics. Who designed these boxes?

Top: Kitchen Magician Food Glamorizer ($38 from South Perth Antiques and Collectables) bottom: Salad Queen Food Glamorizer

With the Salad Queen Food Glamorizer, there appears to have been a cost-cutting measure to eliminate the metallic gold ink.

(Another food glamorizer, after the fold…) [Read more…]

An Alternative Petaloid Bottle

When we speak of “petaloid bottles” it’s usually the base that we’re talking about— that radial structure on the bottom of PET soda bottles that makes them strong enough to withstand their internal pressures and gives them “feet” to stand on.

But the Marc Jacobs “Petite Flower on the Go” bottle is petaloid in an entirely different way: a daisy-shaped figural bottle. (A travel size version of the larger “Daisy” perfume bottle with plastic daisies on the cap)

I’ve read that the plastic petals can be snapped off to make the “Petite Flower” even more petite. It would be nice if they could snap off individually —(“she-loves-me-she-loves-me-not” style)— but looks to me like four of the flower petals come off all in one piece.

(The flower-shaped bottles come in a box, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Парiжель Box, Deconstructed

We picked up this hexagonal candy package (with curved concave sections) at Net Cost Market—Russian grocery store on Staten Island.

Curious about its “gift box” structure, I took it apart…

A product of the АВК Confectionery Company, they manufacture a whole “Parizhel” product line, packaged in these boxes…

…and their “Molen Ruzh de Pari” candies also come in the same shaped box:

(Just for my own sense of closure, I deconstruct the bottom tray as well, after the fold) [Read more…]

Consumer Confusion & Hoof Ointment

In the 1800s, two competing brands of “hoof ointment” each came in a patented, hoof-shaped bottle:

Mackay’s Hoof Ointment bottle (photo(s) from

1. The earlier patent was for George Mackay’s 1874 design for a hoof-shaped bottle.

“This bottle is intended to hold what is known as “Mackay’s Hoof Ointment,” a compound for the treatment of horses feet.

The design consists in forming the bottle in the shape of a horse’s foot and ankle…”

Gordon’s Hoof Ointment bottle (photo(s) from

2. The later patent is Robert Gordon’s 1880 hoof-shaped “Ointment Bottle and Stopper.” (The photo above must have been a later version of the Gordon’s Hoof Ointment bottle since it includes a screw-on cap rather than the patented stopper.)

For more figural bottles of disembodied extremities see: Miraculous Reliquary Packaging

Families of Product

Since consumers so readily identify with an anthropomorphically packaged product, why not make your whole product line into an extended “Family of Products?”

1. The Four of Woolga

Making Woolga’s product line of woolen socks into a nuclear family of four, illustrator and designer Veronika Kieneke designed a set of anthropomorphic tube packages:

“… packaging for the whole family. The set is made of 4 boxes. On each box, you will find one illustrated family member: Father, Mother, Child and Baby… a promotion was developed that encouraged ‘collect and play’… All 4 boxes were easily stuck into each other like the Russian Matryoshka dolls.”

2. The Box Family

Another Matryoshka doll concept, The Box Family was created by Londji, designed by CANSEIXANTA and illustrated by Àfrica Fanlo.

3. Familjen (The family) Beer

Design for a triangular six-pack containing a family of assorted beers:

Familjen (The family) is a fictitious brand of beer. It contains six types of beer, one taste for every member in the family. The pyramid packaging is made for easy openings, unlike the plastic vacuum packaging it facilitate for example rheumatism. It’s also easy to carry around, like a bag. The cans have a strap that will make it easier for those who have impaired muscles for grabbing a can.

A 2007 collaborative project of Anders Jönsson, Azin Ashourvan, Henrik Naessen, Jessica Sernefors and Katarina Lindh.

4. Tetra Pak: An Overly Protective Family

Sort of ironic now, in view of Eva Rausing’s death.

(Our 5th family member, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Mostly Red Revolving Jar Racks

I’d always admired my father-in-law’s workshop. When he was moving recently and offered me some of his tools it was these red, revolving jar racks that I especially coveted.

Reusing old jars to store loose hardware is by now a venerable and thrifty American tradition. In my basement, I have, for years, had several jars full of assorted nuts, bolts, nails & screws that I must dump out to find anything specific. So I envy and admire those with more methodically organized workbenches.

Now that I possess these two revolving jar racks, I could theoretically “up my game,” but really I just love them as objects, with their staggered, vaguely sputnik-like array of jars.

At first I thought that my father-in-law had built these himself, but they appear to be store-bought, although handcrafted examples of the art do also exist.

My son discovered that they can mesh together like gears —a feature that I’m attempting to demonstrate in the video below:

Looking deeper into the world of revolving jar racks, I discovered quite a few other configurations and, for some reason, most of them are red.

(7 more examples, after the fold…) [Read more…]

Bill Culbert: Throwaway Conservationist

Bill Culbert, Red Yellow and Blue, 1995

I learned about Bill Culbert’s plastic bottle sculptures via Unconsumption.

Reading up on him, I saw that he once referred to himself as a “throwaway conservationist” —a designation which seems to imply that it’s thrown-away objects, rather than “nature” that he’s interested in conserving.

One formative experience: a boyhood brush with booby-trapped WWII packaging…

Early in life, Bill Culbert learnt to look closely at things. He recalls, as a boy in Wellington during World War II, collecting tin cans on the beach near Moa Point after a storm. The nine-year-old beachcomber recognised the tins by their colourful lids — they usually contained 50 cigarettes a piece — and took home all 10 he found. Upon opening one of the lids and peering in, however, he noticed some unusual wiring connecting it to the base of the tin. He quickly pressed the lid shut. When his father arrived home that evening, the radio was switched on and the family listened to an emergency broadcast warning Wellingtonians that a consignment of booby-trapped tin cans had been washed off the deck of an American military vessel in Cook Strait. Soon after, the army’s bomb disposal squad was removing the tins from the Culberts’ front garden, where they were stacked amid all the other flotsam…

Moa Point was close by the Strathmore dump, and Culbert would set off after school either to the beach, to see what had washed in, or to the adjacent mound of rubbish, where he would collect not only wheels, suitcases and bottles, but also less predictable fare. “The New Zealand Film Unit would dump unbelievable mountains of film at the dump. I used to take cans of film home and look at them with a torch under the bed.” Between the wiring of the explosive cigarette tins and the recycled newsreels, Culbert may well have gleaned an early sense of the unpredictability, wonder and imaginative potential — as well as risks — to be found in the most familiar objects.

Gregory O’Brien, The Light Fantasic

(See also: German Chocolate Grenade)

Almighty, Almighty, Almighty, plastic bottles, fluorescent tube, 2007

Marvel, Marvel, Marvel, Marvel, 2007, 10″ x 24″ x 3 1/2, plastic bottles, fluorescent tube, 2007

Ivory,Ivory,Ivory,Ivory, 10″ x 24″ x 3 1/2, plastic bottles, fluorescent tube, 2007

Duralube, Duralube, Duralube, Duralube, 2007, 6″ x 24″ x 2 1/2, plastic bottles, fluorescent tube

Although Culbert has done lots of interesting sculptures using plastic bottles penetrated by fluorescent lighting, it’s by no means his only body of work.

(More of Bill Culbert’s bottle/light sculptures, after the fold…) [Read more…]