Zonnebloem Wines commissions leading designer
Zonnebloem, one of South Africa’s best-known brands, is reasserting its classical positioning by teaming up with Haldane Martin, one of South Africa’s most successful industrial and interior designers. To coincide with its new tagline, “crafting contemporary classics”, Zonnebloem has commissioned Martin to develop a stylish range of merchandising units for restaurants and bars, as well as retail outlets. His first design is a sleek, multi-functional dark, cork-topped table that also functions as an ice bucket stand. The table top can be used to hold a bottle, a decanter and a glass of wine, while the legs have been configured to support an ice bucket. He has also created two free-standing display units for wine shops, featuring some of the same materials, including the distinctive dark cork, as well as brass fixtures. Says global brand manager Dè-Mari Kellerman: “He has reinterpreted the traditional in a pleasingly modern and original way that corresponds with Zonnebloem’s approach to winemaking. His designs reflect the cardinal principles of harmony and balance evident in our well-crafted wines. “Zonnebloem is a South African classic. Wine collectors have enormous respect for the brand with vintages from the 1940s, ’50s, ‘60s and ’70s still fetching impressive prices on auction. At the same time, it’s a growing brand that has been building international support for its classically styled but refreshing and modern-tasting wines.” The wines are finding increasing favour with South Africans. “Even though the market is being inundated with new players, Zonnebloem is continuing to retain the interest of loyal and new-generation shoppers. We want to capitalise on their attention with striking visual language that we’ll follow through in our print advertising.” Martin was approached, she says, because he has been one of the most successful exponents of a modern South African cultural identity. “He uses design to reflect a sense of time and place. That’s exactly what our winemakers do. They mirror the uniqueness of each vintage and draw from very specific vineyard blocks to achieve a sense of time and place. “He works with materials in a way that is kind to the planet and to people. In the same way, all our wines are made by following the principles of eco-sustainability.” Kellerman confirmed that internationally Zonnebloem is also growing its year-on-year sales. It is also one of the most popular ranges in the duty-free channel.
Design inspiration for Zonnebloem tables and display stands in Haldane Martin’s own words
It was an honour to be commissioned by Zonnebloem to create a collection of objects which express the essence of this classic South African wine and its new tagline “crafting contemporary classics”. After conducting extensive research into Zonnebloem, and its place in the history of wine making in South Africa, the environments that wine is sold in, and of course enjoying a number of bottles of this well-crafted wine with family and friends, this is what I was inspired to create:
Wine Serving Table
One of the problems found in restaurants that I set out to solve was that red wine decanters are seldom used due to the shortage of table space in restaurants despite the fact that decanters improve the taste of wine by accelerating the “breathing” process. It was important to also include the more commonly used ice cooler for white wines in the solution, as it is common for large tables of patrons to be drinking both red and white wines simultaneously. The palette of materials that I chose to work with, are brass and dark cork. The golden sparkle of the brass resonates with the colour of white wine. Cork was chosen as it is traditionally used to seal the wine bottles, and the dark cork resonates with the rich colours of the red wines. The spiral structure of the brass plated wire table frame which holds the ice cooler in its centre, was inspired by the spiral form of a Zonnebloem (Dutch for Sunflower). The dark cork table top has been recessed to locate a glass decanter in the middle.
Wine Tasting Table
A wine tasting table made from luxurious oiled walnut timber and brass fixtures was created for more exclusive venues. Its distinctive feature is the strong form of the helical thread reminiscent of the same wooden mechanical screw thread used to squash grapes in the traditional wine press. This central thread and lock nut allows the table to be adjusted to various heights, to facilitate wine tasting either seated or standing. The table top has been recessed to locate the decanter in the centre and three bottles of wines are held in brass rings around the periphery. Twelve wine glasses are hung from a brass rack below the table top. A spun aluminium ice cooler fits conveniently between two of the three legs that the table stands on.
Wine Merchandising Stands
The Merchandising units were created for the wine retail environments. They were designed to show off and make accessible, each wine that Zonnebloem produce, using some of the same design elements and materials as the Wine Tasting & Serving tables.