Title Source Type Issue & Page

As a DIY incendiary device, the Molotov is perhaps not the first to spring to mind when considering classic cocktails, though its origin shares a history with alcohol production and drinking cultures of the early twentieth century.

To celebrate this tenth issue, MacGuffin invited ten creatives to come up with a lable for a fictive bottle. Inspiration for the contents came from a host of sources, ranging from spicy egyptian cuisine and Maori vowel sounds to big-billed pelicans and a Chilean novel.

Vegetable plots, piranhas and Donald Duck: in the 1960s and 1970s, experimental designers dispensed with existing ideas about how a bar should look and focused on a fantastic redesign of nightlife.

Since 1997 El Ultimo Grito has produced work that investigates the nature and representation of systems. Their practice is rooted in how contemporary culture incorporates, re-uses and re-interprets the systems and structures that it has inherited. Or as they put it: “Within this context the challenge is to create new objects, which can be typologically disentangled from our conventional (learned) understanding of the world. and thus offer alternative ways to live, work and communicate.”

In 1958, the industrial designer and then head of the Leerdam Glass Factory’s design department, Floris Meydam designed a series of ‘experiments in laboratory glass’ for the Dutch pavilion at the World’s Fair in Brussels. These designs were composed of elements from an assortment of Leerdam laboratory glass: bottle necks, test tubes, spiral heat exchangers, handles and valves, joined together to create new sculptures.

The analysis of sands collected by people from all across the earth reveals hidden narratives in the varied colours and textures of glass fused from ‘wild’ sands. When these geographical diversities become visible, it becomes clear that sand carries not only ecological significance, but powerful social and political histories.

Rooted in classical calligraphy, the work of Job Wouters involves manually repeating complex sets of brush and pen strokes. After exploring different letterforms, scripts and the very boundaries of our alphabet, he stumbled upon the fact that fish, leaves or clouds can, like letters, be the result of a preconceived set of curves and strokes.

Weighing up to 80 kilograms, a single glass bottle mould can bring forth up to a million bottles before reaching the end of its working life. Largely unchanged since the 1950s, this prolific device models shapeless material into perfect bottles of all kinds at incredible speed, as if by magic.

Whether for reasons of personal philosophy or material scarcity, bottle houses come in a host of culturally specific forms and styles. While these various examples display differing design methodologies and attitudes, they all share a similar democratic ideal and a fundamentally complex relationship between industrial production and consumption.

A container with a narrow opening, used to store, transport, protect, ferment and keep fresh. Early bottles were typically made from gourd skins, animal skins, stoneware or earthernware. These were almost unanimously replaced with glass bottles, first in ancient Egypt and later in China and Persia. Developments in manufacturing technologies have generated an endless array of shapes and sizes, each reflecting the use and qualities of its contents.

Precise production methods fill our world with endless iterations of the same objects, made to identical standards. Historical bottles hark back to another era, when glass was anything but a uniform material. The local sand and recycled material used in hand-blown glass yielded a wealth of imperfections and blemishes, of differences in texture and thickness and colour, lending each piece a unique character.