The Greatest Piece of Design You Can't Buy...
In 1932 Fortunato Depero, after a raft of black and white illustrations for Campari and joining the Futurist movement, designed the CampariSoda bottle as an inversion of the conical cocktail glass that appeared so often in his drawings. Today it virtually defines the aperitivo in Italy. If you ask for a Campari Soda in Italy and the bar doesn’t have the little Depero bottles they will claim not to have the drink! They may have Campari (“certo!”) and acqua frizzante (“naturalmente!”) but will only custom mix a Campari & Soda if you press them.
CampariSoda is a brand inseparable from its form factor and color.
In Italy they cost about €1 each, in packages of 5 or 10 and are available in any grocery store.
Here the bottles are simply not available and virtually impossible to purchase online for shipment. Campari has decided not to export them to the US, where they would surely be a gigantic hit, for some inscrutable (read ‘Italian’) reason.
Depero’s Bolted Book reprinted in an exquisite edition by Steve Kroeter of Designers and Books is his other most reknowned design. It is, of course, incredibly rare in its original edition and pretty rarified even in facsimiles, is precisely the opposite of the mass market CampariSoda bottle. And the bottle’s inclusion in MoMA’s design collection may have offended his Futurist sense of radicalism (“We will destroy the museums…”) but likely not his sense of immortality.
A significant piece of design for a dollar is virtually non-existent. Even the Coke bottle doesn’t quite embody the sense of modernity and purity that the CampariSoda bottle evokes. There are a lot of stationery store items that qualify: Post it Notes, paperclips, Bic pen, pencils. And a few food items like the milk container tetra-pak, spork and tea bag. But a truly beautiful (and delicious) designed object for about $1 is a rarity.
Let us know what $1 designs you think are as good or better than Depero’s 1932 CampariSoda bottle and win a CampariSoda bottle for the best idea. We can toast the winner in our office with Negroni’s and other Campari-based drinks!