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I meet the challenge and succeed in solving the problems, that’s why this section shows only realized projects.
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A package from veneer
I think that any packaging is an object that requires attentive research not only of graphic designers but of industrial designers as well. Packaging is a 3D object possessing all the characteristics of domestic things that surround us, the ones that the industrial designers work on. But the package should not only be a stylish and convenient object, but also it has to sell the item inside. The complex challenge becomes more interesting, when there are boundary conditions on the choice of material, the technologies of manufacture and methods of engraving the surface. In my case the client, the first Russian producer of flexible veneer and veneer goods, asked to use only the material that he produces, which is flexible veneer out of various species of wood. Also I was asked to design several standard models of groceries’ and alcohol packaging.
I began researching the material itself: its resources, peculiarities, advantages and disadvantages.
Flexible veneer is obtained by gluing together two veneer canvases. The types of wood can be different. For instance, the exterior layer can be out of beech wood, the interior layer – out of birch wood. Or the exterior can be out of oak veneer and the interior – merbau. As a result of special treatment a flexible sandwich in thickness of 1.0 to 1.5 mm appears, it can be bended practically like paper. In view of the natural characteristics of wood, veneer has fiber orientation that complicates transverse bending, so complex origami out of flexible veneer is achieved with great difficulty. Along the grain though, the material is soft and yielding. I decided to take this very feature as a basis.
Flexible veneer can repeat any curve, fixed by a ribbed stiffener, creating a contour of complex configuration, from a primitive tubus-tube to three-dimensional joineries.
Apart from that, I had the alternative of putting together the constructions using all the possible methods, from gluing to lacing. Veneer, like any panel material, gives way to quality contour die-cutting, the openings can be pierced or drilled. Veneer can be laser cut as well, but the contour stays burned, which does not look nice on light species. Various rivets, clips, claspers are reliable and do not arouse any visual dissonance with the material.
I designed two sets of packaging.
The first set is a broad-based constructive solution for any type of production.
The second is a set of tubes for specific drinks.
The boxes from the first set have several general characteristics:
- they are quickly and easily collected out of standard details;
- the base of the contour is a square with curved angles (these cutsets are facets of a cube or a parallelogram and are stiffening ribs, which the strap of veneer covers);
- the square details are unified and suit the production of any box of the set.
The boxes are convenient in transportation and use. But each has its own peculiarities; flexible veneer is used in three different ways.
Cube is a box with a flexible flap which closes the inlet. The flexibility of the veneer allows the usage of only one detail – the strap – both as a constructive element (it forms the box itself) and as a flexible flap-lid. The shape of the cube is optimal for small items: candy, nuts, and spices in sachets. The paper sash fixes the flap over the inlet.
Parallelogram is a horizontally extracted box. The band of veneer is used as a constructive element and as a spring to close the box. The elasticity of the material allows clamping the upper and lower parts of the box without special fixture. It is only necessary to secure them in closed position, for example, with the help of a paper sash with the information about the product.
The box for bottles is different from the previous in the band of veneer, which encircles the square facets, clams up and forms two hard boxes. Two boxes are connected with a cord. In closed position appear handles for the bottle’s transportation. Simple and convenient.
The second set for bottle packaging.
Alcohol manufacturers pay special attention to bottle design as it is one of the ways to differ from their competition. But the traditions rouse firm associations in the customers and prevent the manufacturers from thinking outside the expected shapes. So, champagne and sparkling wine is always poured into familiar shaped bottles, the same situation is with cognac and wine. The shape of the bottle can signify the drink. This thesis became the basis of the second set design. The shape of the package tells what’s inside. A wooden box is the exact silhouette of the bottle! Only flexible veneer allows implementing this idea. As an example I chose five types of drink: wine, cognac, champagne, vodka and liquor. This is the result.
All the models are supplied with leather laces that connect the lid to the cradle and are used as handles for transportation in closed position.
It’s very pleasant to get such a “cozy” box as a gift.