Material Monday Tactility Speaks: Insight on Glass

Material Monday Tactility Speaks: Insight on Glass

Posted 19 February 2018 by Katie Kubrak

In one of his poems John Keats states that ‘touch has a memory’. After a careful consideration of the thought, effort and process with which some of the most iconic design pieces were achieved, one could claim, that this insight extends far beyond the lyrical perspective of the poet.

Brushing the dust off the story behind Coca Cola bottle, we begin to uncover the story of haptic approach. It starts in 1916, when the brand briefed Root Glass Company to design and manufacture a glass bottle for their best-selling drink. Peculiar specifications required the packaging to be instantaneously recognisable, even if, broken into shards and handled in darkness.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly so, Coca Cola has exercised what we can refer to as tactile design. Thanks to this creative approach, the company was able to translate abstract personality of the brand into a physical presence of an object. This tangible communication through the sense of touch resonated with the users so well that the aforementioned bottle design remains iconic to this day.

Presented unique and playfully haptic language of glass can be defined through a range of creative techniques and CMF experiments. Furthermore, due to its malleability, this material has the potential to embody the character and soul of every other material. Some of the tactile surfaces released by Lasvit are a good example of this.

First one worth mentioning is ‘Yakisugi’ collection by Kengo Kuma. In this series, the architect experimented with the production process and replaced traditional pre-soaked mould material with dry wood. This playful approach equipped the surface with permanent imprint of its scorched texture. In the end, spectator interacting with the surface can experience sleek coldness of glass while touching elevations resembling wood grain.

Second extremely sensual product from this Czech glass and crystal producer was coined in collaboration with Ross Lovegroove, an industrial designer widely recognised for his affinity to organic-like shapes. In effect, project titled ‘Liquidcrystal’ innovates thermal heat inductive process and results in stunning tactile space where the form dynamically interplays with organic quality of light making the haptic and visual sensation of space unforgettable.

Please see some other noteworthy and inspirational applications of tactile design in glass below:





‘Glass is tomorrow’ workshop carried out at one of the world’s largest glassware factories.

Glass 3D printing developed through ingenuity of MIT Lab team that always pushes the boundaries of manufacturing in most spectacular of ways.

If you are interested to get your design team inspired by a CMF workshop on tactile design or would like to visit our material library and brainstorm haptic ideas, please feel free to get in touch.