Posted on: 19 May 2014

Well-known local designer Aidan Bennetts, who has put together the Cape Craft & Design Institute’s exhibition The Story of Food – from Then to Now, has created two baobab-like trees using Zonnebloem wine bottles in an innovative focus on glass as a key storage and packaging material.

The exhibition, at the Castle of Good Hope, runs from May 12 to October 12. It traces the storage of food and drink from ancient times to the present and explores the impact of design, technology and materials on how we consume what we eat and drink, our relationship to these consumables, as well as their impact on the environment and our future.

Zonnebloem Wines is one of the sponsors of the initiative that forms part of the celebration of Cape Town as this year’s World Design Capital.

Bennetts has created the two tree-like structures from PVC piping, each bent to create the effect of branches, fitted with the bottles to resemble leaves. The shorter of the two measures 2 metres, while the other stands 2,3 metres tall. Each bears 50 bottles and rests on an organic-shaped base.

Lighting has been designed to make the structures appear as if the light filters through them, as when you look up into the head of a tree dappled by sunlight. The lighting also refracts through the glass, creating a layered and shimmering effect.

Bennetts chose the baobab shape to express a silhouette that is immediately recognisable as uniquely African, using functional and mundane materials to create objects of great beauty that also focus on some of the equipment used in the production and storage of foodstuffs.

At the end of the exhibition’s run, the structures will be moved to Stellenbosch, where they will be exhibited outdoors at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre complex.

Dè-Mari Kellerman, global marketing manager for Zonnebloem Wines, says the collaboration is intended to support local craft initiatives. “Zonnebloem’s winemakers craft contemporary classics for wine lovers worldwide and we are proud to be linked with a project that honours craft in a way that explores and revitalises traditions. It is what we do all the time to keep our wines appealing and relevant.”

The brand also collaborates with other designers, including Haldane Martin, whose specially commissioned in-store units will be released shortly.