The Time When Heineken Bottles Were Building Blocks

Samuel Reason | April 12th, 2019

Alfred Heineken after visited the Caribbeans in 1963 and finding the beaches littered with Heineken bottles, decided to amend his design and make the bottle’s square. His aim was to allow the bottle to function as a brick also & let people use them to build homes in impoverished countries.

smithsonianmag.com

You can find hundreds of examples of whole buildings being built out of recycled materials, there are even several Buddhist temples that have been made out of them. Or if you are ever traveling through California consider checking out the Grandma Prisbrey Bottle Village which is constructed entirely out of reused glass. And during the 1960s, Heineken tried to help this type of recycling flourish by creating their bottle to be designed as a building block for homes.

Heineken today is one of the most successful breweries and has always been a top seller in the United States. The distinctive green bottle is found all over the world and is a house known brand. It was the founder’s grandson Freddy who had an eye for marketing and design who was able to bring Heineken to such success. And he made it a point to visit the plants he was setting up worldwide to ensure Heineken’s quality was a global success.

This led to him visiting the island of Curacao in the Carribean Sea and realized he could barely take a step on the beach before finding a littered Heineken bottle. This was alarming to him as their product was creating a huge amount of waste in a region that could not cope with recycling glass. And he also saw immense poverty, noticing that the people did not have the building materials required to create a house.

So he set about trying to solve this problem by creating a brick that holds a beer. This was known as The Heineken World Bottle and was rectangular. It also had grooves that allowed them to be stacked easily with mortar or cement. It was designed so that a 10-foot by 10-foot shack would take around 1,000 bottles to build.

Ultimately the idea never really caught on however, many designers have acknowledged Alfred’s brick in a bottle design as the first ever eco-conscious consumer design to be produced.

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