Amorim Top Series partners with Spazio di Paolo in Vodka Votiva project, for which Mario di Paolo, founder of Spazio di Paolo, received the Pentawards Designer of the Year award. Mario is the most awarded designer in Italy and has led the team to win ten Pentawards trophies over the past five years, with 3 additional awards in 2021: Velenosi Villa Angela (Silver), Urciuolo Votiva (Bronze), and Dannami (Bronze).
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We interviewed Mario on the occasion of this important accolade and project:
What was the initial inspiration behind the Vodka Votiva design project?
As with all my projects, including those for Vodka Votiva, I contextualised the packaging in terms of biodiversity and the relationship with the land. My idea took a cultural cue and turned it into a design concept for a product with a Mediterranean flavour, hence I combined vodka with hints of basil and rosemary in a packaging inspired by the art and the thousand-year history that characterises our country and our DNA. To do so, I seized the symbolic power of the Greek column at Capo Colonna, an archaeological site at one of the most extreme points of southern Italy, serving as an outpost overlooking the Mediterranean. The sculptural packaging, reminiscent of neoclassical aesthetics but also of the Greek-Roman period and the Mediterranean, becomes the perfect geo-contextualisation of biodiversity through elements of design. Being the last of the 48 columns in the temple dedicated to the goddess Hera Lacinia, this column is also a kind of votive element. In fact, we chose the name of our Vodka because we decided to use this as the identifying image of the product.
At what stage of the project did Sigila and Amorim Top Series become involved in the process?
Given the quality of the products and the technical means demonstrated by the group, I worked with their contribution in mind from the very outset. When a creative person designs, they already have in mind what they want to achieve and who can achieve it. There are specific skills depending on the results to be attained and in order to develop this project, Sigila and Amorim Top Series definitely fell within these parameters.
During the entire design process, including in the choice of the various materials for the stopper, how did Amorim Top Series’ technical and design expertise help you?
In order to resolve the aesthetic – but also physical – balance of a stopper on a bottle, it is necessary to proceed step-by-step during both the sampling and prototyping phases. It was thanks to Amorim’s technical department that we found the best solution to guarantee both the customisation and stability of the stopper. Its presence had to fit in with everything else without causing any upset and, indeed, it had to add the value of customisation to the final project.
How important was this in ensuring harmony with all the other materials in the Fedrigoni Group catalogue used in the packaging?
After a series of technical tests, we selected a customised stopper that was formed to recall carved stone whilst remaining extremely clean to best match the chromatic code of the entire label and the transparency of the liquid. We had to centre it against the white and warm tones of the foil of the rest of the packaging and we achieved this with the customised white model, both at the top and along the side, which allowed us to maintain the harmony of all the components read vertically.
Amorim Top Series developed innovative cork stoppers that are ideal for transparent spirits. Did this influence your choice of a cork stopper?
Yes, I decided to use a cork stopper because I wanted to emphasise the natural character of a stopper that must be in contact with the liquid. I find the idea of using it in spirits to be classy, obviously where it can be utilised.
The packaging design highlights the white and transparent elements, against which the golden lettering and the golden hue of the cork stopper stand out. How important was it for you to highlight the use of a cork stopper?
The cork stopper combines well with the concept of a high-end product, therefore the idea of having it be in contrast inside this bottle aims to emphasise the small golden accents and reflections. I think that, for me, a natural material adhering to the product evokes reassurance. The warm image of the cork stopper even makes the packaging that bit warmer.
A cork stopper helps bring out the aromatic notes of the vodka. Was this the main reason for the choice of a cork stopper or were there other factors, such as its visual and sensory appeal, a sustainability issue, etc.?
What interests me is the relationship and communication with the product, therefore cork is certainly the most suitable material for coming into contact with a natural liquid in a packaging. This element confers a comfortable visual appeal and best communicates the connection between the contents and a premium closure, which preserves and enhances the taste and scent whilst also recalling its premium character.
With Spazio Di Paolo, you won many awards for your packaging design for wine and spirits. How important is cork in your overall design strategy?
For me, cork represents an element of tradition, being the ABC or DNA of conservation materials. I find it romantic, qualitative and connected to human nature. It is something that, like glass, has always belonged to us. When I design, I consider cork to be a key element of the packaging, so much so that I often decide to reduce the capsule to allow its structure and quality to shine through.