The Square is a water bottle without the normal cylinder build.

It’s the product of a Kickstarter campaign.

A plastic rim means that water doesn’t taste like metal.

The bottom pops off for easy cleaning.

And it’s just a good looking bottle.

That can be reused, again and again.

This Might Be The World’s Best Designed Water Bottle

Shaped like a square. Holes at both ends for cleaning. It’s a product of simple, diligent insight.

David Mayer likes water bottles. He really, really likes water bottles. “My goal is really to get people thinking about bottles not as these clunky, utilitarian pieces, but as statements—in the same way women think about handbags and shoes and that we all think about our clothes, watches and sunglasses,” he tells Co.Design. “The bottle is one of the most visible things we use—there is absolutely no reason that it shouldn’t be beautiful, iconic and send a message to people about who we are.”

So he created a bottle called the Square. At $40, it’s as premium as water bottles come. It’s designed to the nines, with an ergonomic (square) shape to prevent rolling and top/bottom lids to make cleaning easy. The product is more than a stainless steel facade and a clever shape. Each and every aesthetic choice is linked to a diligent, industrial design mindset. But that true, premium feel came with a price.

“There is a reason no one had created a square bottle, especially one where the caps were square. It is very difficult,” Mayer explains. “We couldn’t use a traditional screw function because this meant that the caps wouldn’t line up…The square body was difficult to manufacture as well because we couldn’t use traditional hydroforming processes. No bottle company would touch our product—we had to work with electronics manufacturers.”

Because as simple as the bottle may look, its assembly is a complex build consisting of 16 parts coming together through 65 different steps. This isn’t a chunk of molded plastic. It’s a premium-crafted water bottle. But is a super-fine holder for water an absurd idea? Maybe. But then again, perhaps that’s what it takes to get people to stop with the glass-wrapped European mineral waters served at fine restaurants to the Fiji bottles tossed around by Real Housewives at gyms—which really do wreck the environment.

Order The Square here.

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39 Comments

  • speak.easy

    i can't get behind this one. the design is...okay, i guess, but reminds more of late 90s columbia sportswear than anything. and yes corbin, the logo is terrible. remember those really weird (delving into the early 90s here) brown-bag shaped lunch boxes that were made out of thermos/cooler material? yeah. this bottle represents awkward attempts to look cool.

  • Mind Oxygen

    The design is beautiful. Looks cool and futuristic from outside. But inside it is disappointing. I think the handle top is rather tacky. Not convenient to carry it. I usually would swing or sling it around my shoulder in a stylish way. This handle wouldn't help me. Does it sport a strap or something? Just wondering.
    Having said that, I think I would rather prefer a glass bottle with futuristic design. It makes me feel good when I see the pure water through the crystal clear glass bottle.

  • Effective Site

    now if only there were square cup holders in cars or bottle holders on bikes... there are a bunch of reasons the traditional water bottle is round..

  • bwj

    So using 16 parts and 65 steps for something as simple as a water bottle represents "premium-crafted?" I think you mean over-designed and wasteful. The amount of energy and resources used for the extra parts and production steps negates the idea of a reusable bottle in the first place. Every time I read an article by you Mark, I don't think they can get any worse—but they do.

  • Ollie

    Brian, I don't necessarily agree with your comment that "the amount of energy and resources used for the extra parts and production steps negates the idea of a reusable bottle in the first place." I would like to see the full life-cycle assessment for Square, however, I imagine that the lifetime impact of the product is still significantly lower than the use of plastic bottles over time. The removable caps allow for thorough cleaning that positively extends the product lifetime.

    I fully believe in creating well-crafted, durable products in place of cheap, expendable alternatives. I believe in the use of high-quality materials and durable construction to ensure that a product like Square will last for years and will replace as many plastic water bottles as possible. Yes, the use of 16 parts and 65 production steps may be excessive, however, if they result in a more durable design, then I am not concerned.
    It is the same beliefs that lead to the creation of ReBrush, the replaceable-head toothbrush that my company LittleBonsai has recently launched. In our case, we made sure to back up our environmental claims with a detailed LCA.

  • flense

    To buy this because of the amount of time invested in it seems to be to engage in a sunken cost fallacy in order to buy a product that's over-manufactured, expensive, and the majority of it is made of materials i wouldn't want in a water bottle at all.

    i will stick to (entirely reusable) glass bottles, thank you very much.

  • M_OC

    I'll admit, it's attractive and seemingly easy to clean, but what is it made out of?  It says in this article "more than a stainless steel facade"  and "16 different parts coming together through 65 different steps"; it's clearly a metal and plastic composite material.  There's no reason to stop using the glass european mineral water bottles, at their core they are recyclable.  The Fiji bottles we should absolutely do away with.  Composite materials like wed plastic to metals are so cost prohibitive to separate that they will most certainly wind up in landfill.  We need to be honest about these things, water bottles aren't permanent.  Over time they get funky.  people leave beverages in them over a weekend, can't clean they out properly, leave them somewhere, whatever.  This is as fleeting a possession as a novelty key ring and instead of applauding new designs that have more steps to produce aluminum from bauxite is wrong.  Let's focus some more energy on using materials who's chain of custody is accounted for.    

  • Ivaskevicius Tomas

    I feel the quality by looking at it, but it feels too robust, too military like I would say too masculine. Personally I would try to apply more of frendlyness and lightlness into it, we are talking about precious water.
    Struggling with the story there: 16 in 65 steps means lots and lots of fuzz on assembly line in china perhaps, extra tools and extra engergy consumed to produce such a bottle.

    My question would be why not to create biodegradable bottles with similar features or even design?
    And if it has to be steel then why is there 16 parts? Are there any filters? Special features?

    Great effort though.

  • Pent / Tallinn, Estonia

    I guess it's the first time Swarovski crystals begin making sense to me... if all this effort is made to get people 'thinking about bottles as statement'.
    Your story is a good example of how designing things from the outside (aesthetic idée fixe) to the inside (manufacturing technologies) leads to over-complicated solutions of disproportionate value. 

    I'm not saying this isn't one beautiful bottle. It sure is. Though, imho, style statement alone is a poor raison d'être for a product. As we've been taught, more is less and the other way around. I'm happy with my 3-part aluminium muji flask, serves me well at work, on a hike, so far never 'rolled away'. Also serves the retailer well (let alone the margin) – customer can recognize the product easily, knows what it's for, knows how to use it. Familiar form, two robust separate pieces, elegant finish.

    Yet there's a market for everything – good luck marketing the thing!

  • RP

    Whenever there's a line like "...send a message to people about who we are" related to an industrial and mass-produced object, you can tell that all this talk about design, environment, 'new paradigms', etc is just talk that ends in the same stuff: premium products targeting the aspirations of a middle class with credit card. The world is not changing and so-called innovators are not innovating a thing. 

    ¿How can something talk about your own individuality when there's hundreds or thousands of people dressing, using, consuming the same crap? Nonsense. 

    It's good to buy this kind of ever-lasting bottles, but it's just a nice bottle, that's all. Call things by it's name, stop saying silly taglines like "I don't sell a bottle... I sell personalities". bs.

    Not buying; already have a rounded ever-lasting one that works fine.

  • Grant Herron

    Would prefer if it were vacuum-sealed like my current stainless steel water bottle.  Looks awesome, but you can't beat cold water for hours-on-end.

  • Beetee

    There are a lot of bottles that open at the bottom for easy cleaning, there are some that are square but none that I've seen have both together in such a sleek design. I don't agree with the all the criticism but the main point if that this is not really a re-imagined water bottle, there are better designs that could have been created that serve better functions especially for $40. What they have created here is a sleek brand with a sleek design, not a revolutionary product. This is motivating me to design a better water bottle at $30 each, lol.

  • Thomas Lichtenberg

    Hi.

     

    I don’t
    quite understand all the criticism. 
    People obviously don’t understand what it means to bring such a product
    to the market.

    I am a
    German design engineer and I design blow moulding tools for automotive parts.
    So I have a feeling what an injection mould tool costs for some of the parts
    needed for this bottle. It can easily exceed ten thousands of Dollars.

    So you are
    not just buying one bottle, you are also buying David’s creativity as well as
    his time and investment he spent to develop this product long before it was
    ready to go into production. And I think we don’t talk about mass production.

    I am just
    wondering how many of you have an Iphone. So why did you buy it? Because of the
    beautiful display, the amazing camera or the many features? I guess not.
    Because there a two or three other phones that do the same. Or did you buy it
    to support Bob Mansfields higher salary so that he could stay with Apple?

    “Is that
    really necessary?” the mind asks.

    “No.”
    answers the heart. “But it feels good”.

  • Jiri Mencl

    Hi Dave .... this bottle is awesome ! .... and no worries about some of the comments,  obviously sometimes it takes time for people to see and understand what the point really is .... if Apple would listen to the early critics of the very first iPhone ... we would never have the the iPhone 5 !!! :-)

  • Débora Tavares

    You're totally right, Jiri. People just don't think enough and then come and comment stuff that doesn't even make sense. If they knew better, they'd realize David Mayer put a lot of thought in this design and it simply works amazingly. Good job.