CEO of London’s The Design Laboratory, Yann Mathias has been involved in crafting the visual language of some of the most recognisable brands and companies. Having studied at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, where The Design Laboratory is located, Yann infuses the unpredictable and radical aesthetics of this storied fashion school with the commercial imperatives of the client he works with. We got the chance to shoot a few questions at this creative mind amid the launch of Cointreau’s limited edition redesign, one that Yann worked closely on devising.
BYO: How does The Design Laboratory approach a product?
Yann: The Design Laboratory tells stories through design. Creating a narrative that will feed our creative direction is at the core of our design methodology.
BYO: What were some of the ideas or reference points that you were working with when developing the design for Cointreau?
Yann: We wanted to invite the audience to dive in the recipe and ingredients that make Cointreau a truly unique spirit. A creative partner to the best bartenders, Cointreau is at the heart of more than 350 cocktails enjoyed throughout the world, such as the Side Car, the Margarita and the Cosmopolitan.
Our starting reference were the ingredients, locked in the bottle. We wanted to let the ingredients that make Cointreau this magical spirit free. Our research showed that many people who [had] never tried Cointreau before [lacked] the knowledge of what it was made of.
The recipe for Cointreau is simple, natural and almost unchanged since its creation. Its character and excellence lie in the careful selection and blending of sweet-and-bitter orange peels, to which the Master Distiller [Carole Quinton] of the House of Cointreau devotes, day after day, all her passionate attention.
We used this insight to tell the stories of its truly unique recipe and special ingredients to create and design the Orange Limited Edition.
Our design is a celebration of the traditionally unseen, a stage for the recipe and the art of mixing.
BYO: How were you able to combine the legacy and heritage of the label with the modern design?
Yann: Our design is all about celebrating the legacy of Cointreau as a relentless innovator and highlighting the magic of the spirit contained within the bottle.
We harnessed the beauty of the ingredients used as part of the making of the liqueur and designed a unique illustration that complements the iconic Cointreau bottle while showcasing Cointreau’s spirit of innovation.
For both limited editions, we printed directly our design on the bottle instead of a traditional paper label as, like a tattoo, we wanted to achieve the feeling of legacy and fusion between the ingredients and the recipe.
BYO: How did the visual imagery of this bottle combine with the Art of the Mix campaign?
Yann: The Art of the Mix campaign drives mixologist and cocktails lovers to experiment with Cointreau in order to create amazing drinks.
The limited editions celebrate the ingredients and the world of Cointreau making it the ultimate cocktail mixing companion.
BYO: The combination of geometric with natural shapes seems to be a core element of this design - how did this come about?
Yann: Visualizing the ingredients in a contemporary way yet respecting the legacy of Cointreau was at the heart of our creation. Taking cues from fashion prints and traditional botanical drawing we created an exclusive design that tell the hidden magical story of Cointreau.
Our design is also inspired by the landscape backdrops seen in theatre sets, a concept that we used to create the bottle and its packaging. By setting the scene our design invites the audience to dive with the magical Orange Grove. It is warm and detailed and in tune with the legacy of Cointreau.
BYO: Drawing on the context of being within Central Saint Martins - how has the radical thinking in design that the school is known for permeated into the Design Laboratory?
Yann: The Design Laboratory is a Design and Innovation cross-disciplinary studio. This reflects the innovation and creativity brought by the cross-pollination of disciplines found within Central Saint Martins.
Curiosity, collaboration and a user-centred approach are at the heart of what we do. Underpinning it all is our team - a talented group of graphic, communication, digital, fashion and product designers who together, create brands, products and services that challenge the norm.
The Design Laboratory taps on the mix of creative disciplines to create and innovate, and this approach was born from our birthplace Central Saint Martins in which more than 70 creative subjects are taught.
On this project our talent mix was myself, Boris Thuery (Co-founder), Lucy Maitre (Designer) Jack Frost (Designer) Pierre Felix So (Designer) and Benio Urbanowitz (Creative Manager).
The Cointreau Limited Edition is available now, for more information click here: https://www.cointreau.com/au/en/news/cointreau-launches-unique-creation-inspired-luxuriant-jardin-des-hesperides.