Since Coca-Cola’s contour bottle was first introduced almost a century ago, it has become a design icon and closely associated with the Coke brand. In parts of the world such as Asia, the glass contour bottle is still in use. As they are made of glass, the bottles are collected, washed and reused over and over again.
But what can you do with the bottles which have deteriorated from extensive reuse? While the usual response would be to recycle them, for Oki Sato the answer was upcycling. Director of Japan’s nendo Design Office, Sato saw an opportunity to utilise traditional artisan techniques to create a new product using only the contour bottles which were ready for recycling. That product is Bottleware, a set of five beautiful pieces of glass tableware.
Bottleware was first exhibited at DESIGNTIDE TOKYO 2012 and is now on sale at a range of exclusive retailers in Japan, and via the Bottleware site. Using a technique used to create traditional handicrafts in the Aomori region of Japan, the tableware replicates many of the details of the glass contour bottle such as the colour and thickness of the glass. Sato’s design for the tableware also replicates the ridges found at the bottom of the contour bottle.
As each piece is handcrafted, the Bottleware range is very expensive. But there are much simpler ways to upcycle your used glass Coke bottles – some of which you can try at home. Simplest of all is Photojeanie’s candleholder – just give the bottle a rinse and stick in a candle!
Wind chimes are another popular way to upcycle glass bottles and many types are available from handcraft sites such as Etsy. You can even upcycle your own glass bottles to make a wind chime at home if you have access to glass cutting tools. They make a delightful tingling sound as they are blown by the breeze.
Have you upcycled your used glass bottles or jars? We’d love to see your creations on the Friends of Glass Facebook page!