Friday, March 06, 2009

Liquid Art

Good morning: it's time for good eating (and drinking) on "Foodie Friday."

I think bottled water clearly falls under the purview of "Foodie Friday."

Steven Heller wrote a great piece on the design of water bottles for this Times this week.

Heller writes appealingly that he

was intrigued when Fiji introduced a rectangular water bottle, and Fred Natural Spring Water was packaged in what resembled a whiskey flask. I was seduced by Voss, which comes in a pristine cylindrical container akin to an ultramodern vase — and is priced two times higher than the average bottled water. At least when I finished the Voss, I had a vessel for my long-stemmed roses. Indeed, why shouldn’t water bottles be designed with panache (and multiple uses) for an upscale consumer’s tabletop? These are examples of conspicuous pretension, yet what’s the harm if someone’s willing to pay for it — and if the bottles look good in the bargain?
Fosco is actually a fan of the Fiji bottle, maybe because there is a simple elegance to it. As for the "Fred" water: I love the bottle, but I don't understand the name and the logo. Are they trying to cash in on the success of discount airline Ted? Because, ummm, Ted hasn't really been much of a success...

Then there is the water called Aquadeco (bottle at far left in picture above). Heller gives credit to the impulse behind the Art Deco bottle, but he's disappointed with its execution:
Granted, the water is tasty, but the so-called “complex” package is not as elegant as promised. Compared with Fiji, Fred, and especially Voss, the design of the bottle and typography is ham-fisted. The bottle is less Chanel than Woolworths (in the 1930s, Art Deco package design was quite common in the five-and-dimes), and the logo’s white, customized serif typeface, with a silver outline, gives the impression of a knockoff rather than an original. The difficultly with using pastiche or retro styling for a contemporary product is making sure it doesn’t look preciously passé. This does. What’s more, does anyone really want to drink something that looks like a novelty perfume?
Fosco knows that some of his readers are big fans of Art Deco style (looking at you, BeeMaster), but I think Heller's right here: the bottle just doesn't look like something I want to drink. Or, for that matter, to display.

And because this is "Foodie Friday," we should probably say something about the taste of bottled waters. Fosco does indeed drink bottled water on occasion (although he's trying to cut down for environmental reasons). Evian is a classic and it's great, of course. Dasani is absolutely undrinkable (maybe because it's just tap water?). Cibo Matto's lyrics to "Sci-Fi Wasabi" note that "Yuka Honda knows her water--Pass the Volvic"; I guess that Volvic is fine. But my favorite in indeed Fiji. Fosco is all about the smooth mouth-feel, thanks to those silicates. Not to mention that it makes you look like a model.

submit to reddit
submit to reddit


Anonymous said...

How did you know about my art deco thing?

I do love the AquaDeco bottle, but think it's more suited to holding an herb-infused gin.

That bottle brings to mind the background of a certain edition of a certain ginormous book I once left on an airplane right before I finished it. Doh!

And thanks for the bee pic! :)

The BeeMaster

Word Verify: agiings - specific things that happen to you as you age. "Of all the agiings, forgetfulness is the worst. I think."

FOSCO said...

I know things, BeeMaster... I know things...

Mmmm, I would like a herb-infused gin.