Form and Content, when wine meets design
- Written by Axel Iberti
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Wine is a captivating mix of color, aroma, flavor, and a certain, poetic nuance. One intrinsic characteristic that wine is lacking, however, is form. The necessity of conserving intact all the qualities of this precious nectar so that it could be comfortably transported for distribution and commercialization presented a dilemma since the dawn of time for wine producers who needed to give wine a practical, physical dimension. This dilemma resolved, the market and wine’s widespread diffusion have demanded that new questions be answered, that of product communication. The end goal has always been the same: to win the trust and loyalty of the consumer.
And here we’ve arrived at the point where Design takes on a larger meaning in its context with wine, as both a marketing instrument (as an element of promotion) and an expression of aesthetic value (as an element of communication).
The term wine design includes all the actions, projects, and phenomenon of visual culture that revolve around the world of wine and are expressly studied to optimize production, promotion, and consumption of this amorphous but divine beverage loved by so many. Areas of interest include the presentation (labeling and packaging), accessories for serving and tasting (glassware, tableware), the place where it’s produced along with the architecture, marketing campaigns, and specialized decor that is created in order to offer a corollary of useful content and to reinforce the prestige and identity of the brand.
In the last few years, there has been a growth in concrete projects with multidisciplinary values that allow us to affirm that alcohol has found not just one form, but many dimensions in continuous evolution. It would be impossible to include here all the projects created and those that have yet to see the light of day. Following are just a few examples of those who have taken their first step, or at least represent a unique creative effort in their own right, and those that have ultimately succeeded and now artfully narrate their own stories, all with a common point of departure: wine.
Project: Home cellars, wine storage
Name: Vertical Limit by Vevue Clicquot
Creator: Porsche Design
A project defined with minimalist guidelines, this elegant totem is marked with a distinct graphic profile with its silhouette that evokes bottles stacked one on top of another. Each bottle-shaped drawer opens up to display its precious contents: a vintage of champagne from a French maison. Starting from the lowest and ending with the highest drawer, enjoy an unforgettable vertical tasting of this bubbly wine. We have just one question: once when we’ve finished the wine, does the furniture still have value?
Project: Show room & Wine shop
Creator: Zaha Hadid for Vina Tondonia Lopez de Hereida
In Rioja, Spain, architecture is considered together with the countryside as an element in marketing wine and as an incentive for wine tourism. In Logroño, Zaha Hadid for Bodega Lopez de Hereida created – with its “Deconstructive” features – a small store, unequivocally inspired by a wine decanter, without the risk of being ridiculous or grotesque. Make sure you don’t confuse construction with architecture.
Name: Carafe n°5
Creator: Etienne Meneau
The term “French paradox” coined in 1992 by researcher Serge Renaud from the University of Bordeaux demonstrates the positive effects on the cardiovascular system of drinking a moderate amount of wine daily because of the powerful antioxidant effects of resveratrol. This decanter made by Etienne Meneau reminds us of how heart-healthy it is and of the benefits red wine has on the circulatory system. Please drink responsibly, whatever the antioxidant benefits.
Creator: Agenzia Y&R
“Alfa Romeo promotes the responsible enjoyment of wine. And also of driving. To enjoy both, please never mix the two.” This text is written under one of the advertisements of Alfa Romeo, reminding the consumer of the consequence of his actions when drinking and driving.
Creator: Eduardo del Fraile
The world of labels is fascinating and beautiful in its own right for its endless variation. There are myriads of stupendous projects that are well-done. Historical wineries, year after year, update their labels with small adjustments while maintaining an aesthetic and timeless appeal. New brands trust themselves to graphic artists for producing attractive labels. In this case, we’ve chosen an extreme project as an example: the Spanish Eduardo del Fraile has designed this label “Tierra” as a pure expression of terroir - purer than this is impossible!
Name: Bottoms Up
Creator: Peter Van Der Jagt for Droog Design
Anyone who regularly follows Wine Pass (shall we call them WinePassionate?) has got to install one of these at his door to know when someone comes calling - Perhaps it’s the postman with a few fine bottles of a favorite vintage. Install this to finally get rid of the annoying buzz of your doorbell. When a visitor presses the button, the electric bobbin makes the small hammer vibrate on the upside-down glasses, recreating the magical sound of a toast. This is one doorbell tone that never gets old. Cheers, and welcome to our humble abode!
Project: Wine shop
Creator: Arthur Casas for Mistral Wine Shop
The service sector has an ever-growing consumer potential in the world of wine. In San Paolo, Brazil, the architect Arthur Casas has created the Mistral interior design, a wine shop that, thanks to this well-done project, has made front-page news in various specialized and non-industry magazines. For tasting and purchasing wine, the right scene and atmosphere is fundamental.
Project: Wine glasses
Title: Seven Deadly Glasses
Seven wine glasses for the seven sins. Appreciating wine in itself is not a vice, but all types drink it. Finely hand-crafted out of crystal, these wine glasses have an appropriate gothic-baroque allure and are clearly made for punishing, not rewarding, the wicked wine drinkers among us. Each sin has its own wine glass that, in Dante-esque style, permits the drinker to taste his wine according to his sin, at his own risk.