This year marks a significant milestone for Coca-Cola as its signature hourglass-shaped bottle celebrates 100 years. While the pioneering pop brand has experimented with packaging throughout the decades, there’s no denying the universal recognition that shapely silhouette carries.
To mark the centenary, Surface magazine invited 12 designers to reimagine the bottle for its June/July issue. “Coca-Cola, though global in scale and influence, is so American,” Surface editor-in-chief Spencer Bailey says. “I thought, ‘Why not ask some of today’s top U.S.-based designers to rethink its iconic design in a fresh way?”
The origins of the coke bottle are by now legendary. In 1915, Coca-Cola invited 10 glass companies to develop a “bottle so distinct that you would recognize if by feel in the dark or lying broken on the ground.” The Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, won the competition.
The roster of participants spans coast to coast and includes industry celebrities like architect David Rockwell and up-and-comers like Felicia Ferrone and Jonathan Nesci. “There was no aesthetic thread we were trying to adhere to,” Bailey says. “Our goal was rather to showcase how diverse American designers are in their thinking and output.”
The brief was simple: “create an object inspired from the original Coca-Cola bottle design that somehow dispenses the beverage,” Bailey says. “Not all of the designers followed this.” (How American to rebel.)