Design set to make the pint glass safer

Can two new smash-proof designs reduce the frightening number of glass attacks in pubs each year in the UK?

Having a pint glass smashed at high velocity into your face by a drunken idiot is a truly horrible experience. I should know – some inebriated nob-head tried to glass me in a bar last year and if the glass in question hadn’t been of the “toughened” variety and smashed into tiny cubes (as it was designed to do) on impact with my eye-socket I would almost certainly have lost my left eye. Now two new pint glass designs are set to minimise further the chances of serious injury as a result of glassing incidents…

Yesterday two new prototype pint glass designs were unveiled at the Design Council – with the hopes that new smash-resistant designs end up cutting the frightening 87,000 glass attacks each year in the UK and slashing the huge (estimated at £2.7 billion) NHS bill such attacks cause…

The two prototype glasses, Glass Plus and Twin Wall both work on the principal of having a binding layer of resin that holds the glass together even if the glass is smashed. In the case of Glass Plus the layer of resin sits inside the glass while, with Twin Wall, it resides between two ultra-thin layers of glass. Here’s some handy diagrams to show how they work:

Glass Plus (internal coating)

 

Twin Wall (laminated glass)

Both prototypes were devised by design consultancy, Design Bridge, which used early research results from InnovationRCA, the business network of the Royal College of Art, to help create dozens of initial concepts. These were assessed by leading glass manufacturers, materials experts, drinks producers and pub owners before the two final solutions were chosen. Jeremy Myerson, Alliance lead on this project and director of Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art (and a former editor of Creative Review), said: “This is a major step forward and an impressive example of using design to solve social issues and make communities safer from crime. These solutions have the potential to reduce serious injuries. What the designers have shown here isn’t the only solution to the problem – there are other ways to achieve a similar effect – but it’s about offering choice.”

Just to remind you – here’s the current choice of pint glass on the market (the middle one was the one that saved my eye last year):

The beauty of these [two new] glasses,” says David Helps, director of 3D and innovation at Design Bridge, “is that they keep everything British drinkers love about their pint; they look good, work better and are safer in front and behind the bar.”

Development of the prototypes and further safety testing under laboratory conditions will now take place before the glasses are tested in a pubs and clubs. As part of the Design and Technology Alliance the Design Council is already in talks with major pub chains about trialling the Glass Plus glasses, which it is hoped will be ready within 12 months. The Twin Wall designs will be further refined in consultation with manufacturers to investigate possible large scale production processes.

I’l leave you with some pint facts…

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