Atlanta Museum Celebrates 100 Years of the Curvy Coca-Cola Bottle

Art Scene

Atlanta Museum Celebrates 100 Years of the Curvy Coca-Cola Bottle

“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca-Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca-Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca-Cola, too.”

This famous snippet from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol adorns a gallery wall in Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, where visitors can experience the history behind a symbol of American culture.

On display through October, The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100 celebrates a century of Coca-Cola’s iconic bottle design as part of a year-long commemorative campaign. The exhibition explores the origins and influence of the curvy, ridged bottle, giving viewers a look at early design sketches, an original 1915 prototype and a collection of Coca-Cola-inspired works by dozens of artists.

Andy Warhol’s consumer-centric Pop art images likely come to mind, and Warhol indeed occupies an entire gallery of the exhibition with at least 15 works on display. A separate gallery offers 40+ photos from the 1930s through the present, each featuring the Coca-Cola bottle either for artistic use or simply present somewhere in the image, while yet another section displays visionary posters by contemporary designers asked to envision the next century through Coca-Cola’s lens.

The Coca-Cola bottle was designed by the Root Glass Company in Indiana, the winner among various companies asked by Coke to create “a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was.”

And on that memo, a legendary bottle was born. Through decades of evolution, competition and changing demand in the market (not to mention experimentation with their own products), Coca-Cola managed to preserve the bottle’s aesthetics while growing from Americana refreshment to global brand.

“There is undeniable magic in all things Coca-Cola,” said Duggal packaging expert Jake Bialos. “When you see and hold that classic bottle, it’s all there. The shape is a perfect combination of traditional artistic proportions and refined packaging aesthetics.”

Bialos has worked with various creative agencies on packaging prototypes for several Coca-Cola brands, including Dasani, Gold Peak and FUZE.

“Coca-Cola seeks creativity and is not afraid of new ideas,” Bialos said. “Innovation is in their DNA.”

The Coca-Cola Bottle: An American Icon at 100 marks the launch of a new Coke campaign that will include new advertising, a traveling art show visiting 15 countries, a limited edition book, the “Nobody Like You” musical anthem by 19-year-old singer/songwriter Francesco Yates, and a series of TV and digital forms – all honoring the bottle’s staying power. To learn more, click here.

Cheers to Coke – a true triumph of design.

Coca-Cola Bottle Chronology

Coca-Cola Bottle Classic

Coca-Cola Bottle Ice Cold with Boy

Images courtesy of the High Museum of Art