Designing Louder Than Words Competition

Design Museum of Chicago Presents Designing Louder Than Words, a Bottle Box Design Competition.


Bottle Box Finalists

Taylor Mentzer // Winning Design

What is your profession/day job?
I am an architectural designer.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
I was inspired by Chicago’s history for my concept. The Great Chicago Fire made the city more resilient and innovative. The Great Migration brought jazz to Chicago, but it was here where it developed its own signature style. Lake Michigan and the Chicago River were also major sources of inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
I usually sketch by hand before drawing and modeling on the computer but for this particular design, I started in 3D in the computer. I knew what I wanted materials to be based on my inspiration so I used that materials and their capabilities to start the design process.

How would you describe your personal practice?
My personal practice stems from an interest in working with various materials and textures, and using multiple mediums for creative expression. When I’m not working on a building design, I paint, draw, build furniture, and design and sew clothes. Designing and working at all scales is important to my personal practice.

Andrew Mack and Michal Ojrzanowski // Honorable Mention

What are your professions/day jobs?
We are architects.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
The design of the box needed to be beautiful if the bottle was within the box, or without. The scale of the box was perfect for a vase as well, which ensures that the box has a longer life than the scotch. The transparency and floral premise of the design fell into place. Wild flowers, of course, are an ode to the Prairie State.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
Our personalities initially tilt either of us towards different problems in the same design, but we have worked together long enough to know how marry our skills. We constantly critique each other and we have been known to swap work entirely if we have run-out the clock on whatever is concerning us. Lots of sketching; pencil, pen, and usually some very bad Photoshop.

How would you describe your personal practice?
We endeavor to create life-affirming architecture and design. This means that the projects should create really deep memories, and that the projects themselves are a little less-precious in terms of finish and material. Perhaps, this is why we are always surrendering to nature in our designs, because nature, when visited through a the prism, creates a very strong ambiance.

Gregory Zychowicz // Honorable Mention

What is your profession/day job?
I am a designer and art director.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
My inspiration for the project was the architecture, urban planning of the city and human spirit. It amazing to walk in Chicago and see its massive structures knowing that at some point it was destroyed. i love the idea that the city of Chicago didn’t fold after something tragic and significant to the history as the Great Chicago fire. It became stronger, more powerful and resilient.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
At first I like to learn about the industry that i am designing a branding or package for. Look at competition, gather research, and mood boards. Then I do loose sketching and proceed to finish it on the computer.

How would you describe your personal practice?
I am very hands on with clients. I treat each new project as if I am part of the company. I like to provide various concept that are both safe and very outside the box. I like to be a part of the project from very first conversation to final product launch.

Babs

What is your profession/day job? 
I am a freelance graphic designer.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
It’s my love letter to Chicago.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
I start everything with a mood board even if it’s a quick and loose one off the side of my artboard. I like to collect images of type, finishes, color palettes, design architecture (I’m a packaging designer), anything I’m inspired by. I go mostly straight to the computer unless I’m sketching custom typography or illustration.

How would you describe your personal practice?
I’m self employed so my professional and personal practices overlap a lot. Not all my projects are passion projects but I have a passion for all my projects.

Nicholas Berchtold

What is your profession/day job? 
I am an architect

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
I wanted to portray Chicago in a less obvious way by creating a design that quite literally builds the foundation of the city. The bridges of Chicago are structural poetry, binding our city, and enhancing the appeal of our streets in our lives. We cross them daily, to and from work or the park or the grocery store. We gather on top of them to watch a parade or take a photograph. We look down on them from soaring towers or gaze up at them while gliding on a boat below. They connect us. Using this imagery, both visually and emotionally, I envisioned the scotch bottle box as a Chicago bridge.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
First, I like to brainstorm and visualize ideas in my head before 3D modeling my top designs on the computer. I then fabricated the box using 3 different methods: milling on a CNC machine, laser cutting, and woodworking by hand.

How would you describe your personal practice?
I am fortunate to have access to a large variety of machines/equipment/resources (such as: a 4 axis CNC machine, laser cutter, 3D printer, and a plethora of woodworking tools). Because of this, I have the opportunity to experiment and create architectural models, furniture, and functional art.

Brininstool + Lynch

What are your professions/day jobs? 
We are architects.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City defines Chicago architecture: practical, innovative, and made for Chicago’s middle class. The Distilled Chicago Icon scotch container pays homage to this mid-century landmark, reimagining the tower’s iconic silhouette with contemporary aesthetics and manufacturing techniques.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
Brininstool + Lynch was founded on the premise that architecture is as much about constructability as it is about design. The firm believes that the very best ideas are impractical unless they can be manifest in built form. All of Brininstool + Lynch’s earliest projects were, in fact, designed and built by the firm – allowing for a practical ability to achieve successful building projects even as the scale of the firm’s projects has grown.

How would you describe your personal practice?
Brininstool + Lynch points the way towards a new “Chicago School” – which is to say architecture that is an artful and seemingly effortless amalgamation of mercantilism, technology, and aesthetics whose logic was irrefutable.

Robert H Canizaro

What is your profession/day job?
I practiced Architecture for 45 years, 37 years in my own firm.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
My inspiration for my concept was an image of the Scottish Moors and the Chicago flag.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
My process begins with freehand sketching. Then I photograph. print, cut, and paste.

How would you describe your personal practice?
My personal practice today involves making art with dry media.

Antonio Filippo Tandoi and Ivan Zito

What are your professions/day jobs?
We are architects based in Rome collaborating with architectural firms in Rome, Milan, Bari (Italy) , France and Canada.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
Looking to the city of Chicago suddenly our attention was kept by an iconic building: The Aquatower. Starting from a rectangular box we imagined it as a tiny sculpture composed of 26 sinuous shape sections. In this way, we obtained a box with vibrant and communicative surfaces separated by free spaces in order to show the label brand of the bottle. We wanted to create an elegant contrast between the materiality of the sections and the glass of the bottle as the Aquatower slabs and its curtain wall.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
We like to defined ourselves as an “experimental firm”. We work through a variety of methods. We are usually inspired by the context, the history, roots, archetypes of a place where the project has to be designed. Sometimes we decide not to restricted our creativity to a given context, but we try to give a new trajectory to that context. We start from an idea that could be sketched as a general vision, or by pictures and from that emotional approach we find the right balance in order to provide a high quality result by consciousness. After 2D drawings, 3D models and renderings allow us to see how our design works and how people can perceive the spaces or the object we designed.

How would you describe your personal practices?
Our works is based on the architectural and design research. Our personal practice takes the form of reading architectural and design books, taking part in exhibitions and realizing what we design. In particular we like to create prototypes in the laboratory to experiment with shapes, materials, envelops techniques, and sustainability technologies.

John Terdich

What is your profession/day job?
I am an artist.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
I wanted to explore how the technique I have been using in an ongoing series of art pieces would work for a package design.

Charcoal: Out of the ashes, This city doesn’t mind Dirty hands.
Distilled: Diverse types Mingle together, Share thoughts, Drink in history.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
I create drawings of various words in particular typefaces. These paper patterns are then perforated which allows powdered charcoal or pigment to transfer the design through the pattern onto another surface. The multiple pattern designs are then superimposed over each other.

How would you describe your personal practice?
Once I have an idea for a project, I conduct research and make sketches. I use whatever media is appropriate to the project. In this case, I used charcoal and paper to explore and resolve the questions posed by the concept.

Aron Tsang + Wesley Ho (Napp Studio)

What are your professions/day jobs?
Aron is an architect at and Wesley is Design Director of Napp Studio.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for your concept.
While the traditional vintage scotch often comes with a heavy-duty and hand-crafted solid wood casing, the old Chicago used to represent herself as a cluster of bold art-deco buildings along the waterfront. Chicago nowadays, yet, presents herself as young and hip city crowded with cutting-edge art and design industries, not to mention her world renowned skyline composed of modern skyscrapers.

Similarly, imagining the Chicago after a glass or two of scotch, the re-invention of the new scotch bottle box would need to reflect the Transparency, Reflectiveness, Fuzziness of this skyline wonder, while portraying the hip and chic city image. The new bottle box can be read in a multi-scale: a symbolic graphical skyline on the sides when the box is opened and laid flat; a glass skyscraper with unitized curtain wall system glowing through the scotch’s sepia ambience; a transparent brick decor protecting the scotch while revealing it at the same time.

Tell us a little bit about your process.
Educated as architects, we often approach design subjects from a conceptual or theoretical realm as a starting point. Settled with a clear direction, we begin explore through hand-sketches in translating our abstract thoughts into lines and solids, followed by continual trial-and-error processes of digital modeling in the actual scale and dimensions alongside with choosing the exact materials available for manufacturing. All comes in step-by-step and often as a feedback system that cycles back and forth.

How would you describe your personal practices?
Design is a minimal yet effective intervention in dialogue with the needs of its users and context; and we find beauty in simple and clear design intentions. Napp Studio is a progressive design collaboration that works across scale – from architecture, interior to furniture and product. As architects, we approach design subjects through series and layers of rigorous operations e.g. social, formal, practical, structural and environmental, which are translated in all scales.