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.