Monday, October 17, 2011

Orangina and Opium??

Ever wonder what lies behind those fabulous bottles full of enticing scents that adorn our dressing tables and bathroom shelves? And what about the enticing packaging of these scents that entice us in boutiques and department stores?

There are two major perfume bottle designers who have dominated the industry for the last 50 years or so. Serge Manseau and Pierre Dinand.
Pierre Dinand is virtually a living legend in the world of perfume bottle design and packaging. Creating some of the most iconic and recognised perfume bottles of our time, the man has created over 500 concepts and designs for perfumes that have been in production at some stage or another. To put it plainly he has created over half the bottles produced in the last 40 years. Almost single-handedly he has optically enriched our appreciation of fluted crystal, innovative shapes and the art of bottle design.
Quantity is fine, and one would think that with such an output that one would lose any sort of innovation, and treat each commission with less enthusiasm from the last. Not so with Dinand. Each creation is different from the last. If anything the underlying feature of his work is the architectural quality that unites them all. Working closely with the perfumer he spends time with the noses, and tries to exchange views on the project. It is always better that the bottle and juice are worked together.

His first bottle for Rochas’ Madame Rochas released in 1960 is a classic and in Dinand’s words the story of its creation goes something like this. I was working in 1958 and 59 as Art Director in an advertising agency, which had clients involved in luxury goods, including champagne, cognacs and fashion. One of the companies, Marcel Rochas, liked my new graphic approach, and knowing of my architectural study background, asked me if I had any ideas for the shape of a new perfume that would carry the name of a beautiful woman, Helene Rochas. That was new to me but very challenging; I decided to spend time with Helene Rochas, falling in love with her. I got inspired by a collection of antique perfume bottles she had at home. The problem was to produce industrially something that was originally handmade. It worked and was an enormous success.
I was immediately requested by many other fashion designers, Pierre Balmain, Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, and Yves Saint Laurent. I always thought this would be the last and I would have to design some other things, but it kept going, increasing demands from all over the world…

Another classic project which has stood the test of time is the bottle and packaging for Dior’s Eau Sauvage. ‘The box design, taken from the inside of a Rolls Royce, was more difficult than the bottle, printed with 7 colors to achieve this precious wood look.’

Dinand is the first to bemoan the fact that now creativity is now dead and that marketing and sales have taken its place. ‘Creativity is less important nowadays, now that marketing studies end up with the exact same recommendations, whatever the company. The result is leveling the design to the base, cutting everything too low like cutting grass in your garden, and then the little flower blooming in the middle has no chance to survive thanks to the powerful P&G Marketing Gurus, invading the world of parfumerie. C’est la vie, or I should rather say c’est la mort. It is the death of creativity”

Pierre Dinand has also enjoyed great success as a mainstream, consumer product container designer. One of the most famous packages he crafted is the world famous orb bottle for the popular soft drink Orangina. The ubiquitous Orangina shape is renowned around the world and is further proof that this design giant digs deep to understand the needs of every client he services.

I am sure that you will recognize some of the other iconic bottles he has designed pictured here!
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