Coca-Cola and Emeco

  • Contrary to popular belief, most design is not visual. Design is everywhere—and more than meets the eye. Much of it is invisible, deeply integrated into every aspect of our daily lives. In going beyond the surface, designers can reimagine and re-engineer the hidden systems behind cultural, economic, and environmental structures. 
  • Image by Doug Laxdal, The Gas Company Inc., Toronto
  • What happens when a global company is designed for perpetuity?
    Coca-Cola Live Positively Platform and Emeco 111 Navy Chair
    Atlanta, Georgia, and Hanover, Pennsylvania, 2007, in collaboration with Coca-Cola and Emeco
    Few brands have a global presence as pervasive as Coca-Cola’s. By looking at the vast network of internal systems behind this familiar product, we designed the potential for Coca-Cola to be part of a powerful social movement.
    Coca-Cola were early innovators in systems design, so Live Positively quickly became about more than just recycling bottles, encompassing causes from water stewardship to women’s entrepreneurship. It’s about designing the deep meaning of the brand, not a new image of it. Don’t just make an ad campaign about the idea, communicate through your actions.
    The Coca-Cola project led to a collaboration with Pennsylvania-based furniture company Emeco, who began making chairs for the navy during World War II when the US government asked for strong, light, lasting models. When Coca-Cola approached
    Emeco about making a version of the “Navy chair” from plastic bottles, together they created a new formula for the plastic that can be made and remade into furniture.
    Because each chair is made of 111 upcycled plastic bottles, it’s called Navy 111. Several big ideas developed out of the collaboration: first, design isn’t just style—it’s material, process, system. Second, sustainability isn’t just about recycling—it’s about making things that endure. “First, let’s make things that last” has become Emeco’s manifesto, showing that we can redesign the things we love so that we can enjoy them forever.