Clear as a Family of Glasses
Haven’t you ever wondered why you recognize a Mercedes as being a Mercedes without having seen the logo? Or why, when you see a new Apple product you immediately recognize it as an Apple product? There are numerous psychological studies on the subject, but the core principle remains that they are designed in such a way that they are part of the company family.
Second year students of the study Industrial Design Engineering at the The Hague University are given the challenge not just to design a product within a family, but to create a entire new one with five family members! The family must be a family of glasses, consisting a glass for red wine, white wine, champagne, cognac and a glass for small shots.
Sets of glasses can be found in many shapes, but almost all of them are organic. A wine glass has a long stem and a rather round cup, a cognac glass is shorter and has a more bulbous cup and a champagne glass has a short stem but a more ‘stretched’ cup. Shot glasses can be found in many shapes, but they only have to hold a minimal amount of alcohol and are therfore quite small.
While glasses always have the same traditional shape, plates, dishes and cutlery have come in a wide variety. Square or triangle based dishes aren’t uncommon anymore. Neither are ergonomic, a-symmetric, stretched, shortened, extremely unpractical and very funny cutlery (believe me, during this project I have seen them all).
So, While dishes and cutlery have changed to fit everyone’s style, glasses have remained quite traditional. These glasses fit well with more organic shaped dishes, but they do look a bit off with the more angular ones.
My design study led me to a eight sided wine glass, with the stem of a non-glass material. The eight sides still give the glass a voluminous feeling that is equal to a traditional glass. Less sides would diminish this feeling, more would make it less angular. By changing the dimensions of the cup and stem, every time making sure that the glass will be rightly recognized by the user, the rest of the family glasses was created.