One Key

Unlocking the experience

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Awards

iF Packaging Design Award

Pentawards

Graphis Merit Award

What we did

Experience Essence™

Insights

Packaging

Name

Industrial Design

Materiality

Design for Manufacturing

Rituals are so central to human existence that we often take them for granted. Opening a champagne bottle is almost theatrical in its release of anticipation. Uncorking a bottle of wine requires the use of carefully crafted tools and is accompanied by the satisfying sound as the cork pops with compressed air from the bottle’s neck.

Even the humble can of soda has the tinny clank of the ring-pull and the fizz of its sweet contents. But opening a bottle of gin, no matter how premium, feels bereft of ritual. The simple twist of the metal cap feels mechanical and mundane. That was until OneKey.

The almost opaque, deep-blue glass shrouds the contents in mystery, inviting you to hold it and inspect it more closely. There’s an element of seduction, teasing you to explore the product and understand its secrets.

One Key gin bottles on blue background

One key for one bottle

In parts of Europe there is a lucrative counterfeit trade in premium alcohol. Enterprising criminals will collect empty bottles of high-end brands, fill them with inferior product and sell them on for a profit. For premium brands, this is a tough challenge to overcome. Counterfeit measures look clunky and ugly, and take away from the feeling of premiumness. OneKey addresses this with the idea of each bottle having one simple and elegant ‘key’ that can only open that one bottle. Once the key has been used to open the lid, it fuses to it, meaning the bottle cannot be refilled and re-sold.

One Key gin bottle closure detachedOne Key gin bottle closure One Key gin bottle opening sequence

Dramatic subtlety

The OneKey bottle is subtle and dramatic at the same time. The shape – angular and sharp – and the deep blue color contrast with the subtle branding and labeling on the bottle. The silver square at the very bottom of the bottle hints at the presence of a key. Just like the bottle of its sister beverage, Abnormal Vodka – also designed by NONOBJECT, OneKey incorporates a ‘neckless’ design. Together, the two bottles – one perfectly round and see-through, the other with flat sides and mysteriously dark – form a striking statement.

The manufacturing challenges for a rectangular glass vessel were vast. Incorporating the key into the base of the bottle further complicated the engineering. By working closely with the engineering and the manufacturing teams, the design intent was preserved all the way through production.

One Key gin bottle and Abnormal vodka bottleOne Key gin bottle spoutOne Key gin bottle and Abnormal vodka bottle top view

The ritual

The slight confusion when the user is presented with a seemingly un-openable lid turns to excitement upon discovery of the key. As the key cannot be removed from the top after it has been inserted, there is truly only one moment when each bottle transforms. Just like a champagne cork can pop only once, the OneKey ritual is made all the more powerful by its fleeting nature.

One Key gin bottle in a bar