A simple, minimal and curvaceous six bottle wine rack made from a single extruded section of recycled aluminium.
A wine rack for life
We wanted to make the kind of wine rack that you use regularly. A six bottle rack for the wine you want to keep to hand, say, in the kitchen or on a sideboard.
We thought about the wine racks we’d used over the years. The thin wooden ones that sag and bow and end up being used to start the barbecue. Some plastic ones that were attractive and inexpensive but quickly scratched and lost their lustre under the movement of heavy bottles. Some fancy shapes that sacrificed form for function and ended up not being used at all.
We wanted to make a wine rack that’s both pleasing to look at and to use. Something that’s made to last, that would, like good wine, age well.
Often design is about looking for simple, elegant ways to respond to very practical needs. We think a lot about space and how to use it efficiently so we started out by looking at bottles stacked efficiently in an interlocking formation.
Some of our early designs felt too complex. They combined wood and metal and drifted away from that simple interlocking pattern that just feels like the way bottles want to arrange themselves.
After trying many alternative routes we hit on the idea of a very simple aluminium section that simply supported the interlocking arrangement that made so much sense to us. We explored a number of variations on this before hitting on the C shape that is simple yet visually dynamic.
Keeping it simple
We thought about making it so that it could be pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, enabling you to build it out into a much bigger rack system. But there are plenty of good rack systems out there. And the changes we would need to make to do that just took away from the simplicity of the form and from the original intention. So we stuck with our simple six bottle design.
Why we love this wine rack
We love the way the whole rack wraps itself around the bottle at the centre. You could say that the centre bottle is inside and outside of the rack all at the same time.
It’s a form that’s simple and practical yet playful too. And that makes for exactly the kind of wine rack that's good to live with and look at every day. Which is just what we set out to achieve.
Eco and ethical
At Provenance all of our products are made from recycled or renewable materials. Our wine rack is no exception, it will be made from aluminium recycled largely from old alloy car wheels. The process of recycling aluminium uses just 5% of the energy of making primary aluminium from bauxite. Aluminium is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality. As a result it retains value and recycling rates are very high. We also operate ethically, ensuring we only partner with manufacturers and suppliers that pay their staff at least a living wage and follow safe and responsible working practices. This wine rack will be made and finished in Spain and the UK by companies that are focused on excellence and that value and develop their employees.
Just the right size
The wine rack needs to be flexible enough to hold a range of different sized bottles – the final design will hold everything up to standard Champagne size. The cavities match those of a standard wine rack at 89mm. But with this specific design we had to be sure they weren’t so big that bottles would fall through the gaps. We used virtual 3d models to assess this and define the ideal dimensions.
This wine rack can be used in three orientations. We tested stability using simple cardboard models and weights. In this way we calculated how heavy the wine rack needs to be to ensure stability regardless of which orientation you’ve placed it in and how you put bottles into it.
Weight and dimensions
How you can help
To make this wine rack at a viable unit cost we first have to make expensive tooling and produce a large volume of the aluminium section. Your pledge can help us achieve this and enable you to be one of the first people to enjoy the wine rack for yourself – at a discount price.
Spread the word
The volume involved in producing this wine rack means we need quite a lot of support to get this project off the ground.
Spreading the word to other people who might love our wine rack is a great way to help us make this project happen.
How we’ll be making the wine rack
As soon as we had designed the form we knew it was perfect for extrusion. A simple way to think of extrusion is to look at what happens when you use a standard garlic crusher. The garlic is forced through a grid of holes and it emerges in a series of strings that reflect that grid. In a similar way but at a much larger scale, the aluminium extrusion process forces aluminium that's been heated for softness through a pattern known as a die head. Once through the die head the aluminium cools and re-hardens in its new form. The process produces lengths of aluminium with a very specific section. It is the ideal way to make this product at volume and for a reasonable unit cost. There is very little waste in this process as any unusable sections or any offcuts are immediately recycled once more.
Once extrusion is complete we have a series of long lengths of aluminium made to the profile of our wine rack (three tons worth of aluminium in total). We then need to cut this down into wine rack lengths. Following this the edges are burnished to ensure a good finish. The brand marks are also stamped in at this stage. The racks then go off to a separate specialist to have their finishing coat applied before they’re ready for packaging and dispatch.
How we will use your money
The money we are looking to raise through Kickstarter will cover the cost of tooling and producing the first run. Specifically:
- Making the die-head tool
- Producing the first run of extrusion (all 3 tons of it!)
- Cutting the extrusion down into individual wine racks
- Preparing the edges and surface ready for finishing
- Applying the finish
- Packaging the wine racks ready for dispatch
We don't aim at this point to cover the costs of development and prototyping, this is simply about getting the wine rack into production at a viable scale.
As you'll see from our video, we've made a very accurate prototype from aluminium. This was cut from a solid block of metal using a technique called wire cutting. This technique is usually restricted to smaller pieces. In fact our prototype is the largest object the wire cutting specialists we used have ever made in this way. It gives us an accurate model of our wine rack but if we were to make the production versions like this we would need to retail them for something like £4800 each. That’s quite a lot more than the £69 retail price that we are targeting! To make the wine racks for a realistic price we need to use the technique called extrusion that we've described above.
Extrusion = scalability, but at some scale
The extrusion we need for our wine rack is relatively large as extrusions go but this is the perfect process for making the wine rack at scale and for an affordable unit price. It has only two drawbacks:
- Tooling costs
- Minimum run lengths
Relatively high set up costs and the need to make a large run of three tons makes this different from the products we've produced as a company so far. Without Kickstarter, and you, it would be very hard for us to realise this project.
What your pledge can bring you
We’re offering a range of rewards for pledges from £3 all the way up to £2500+. And you can get one of our wine racks for just £49.
In addition to the wine rack itself we are offering a specially-designed poster and a limited run of 300 specially-stamped, first edition wine racks.
Take a look at our offers in the right hand column...
What happens after you pledge…
As soon as we meet our funding target (finger’s crossed) we’ll start the process of moving the wine rack into production. Your backing is vital so we'll keep you regularly updated on our progress and the specifics of how the wine rack is made. You’ll see the project come to life right through to delivery.
Who are we?
Provenance is a fledgling brand, based in the United Kingdom, that designs and produces eco-friendly and ethically-made homewares.
The story so far
Provenance started out with a line of simple products made from reclaimed teak and recycled glass. We’ve since branched into other materials such as cork and recycled aluminium. All products are made from recycled or renewable materials.
In our first two years we’ve been lucky enough to win recognition both for our packaging and our products.
Red dot design award – winner 2012 (packaging)
European design award – gold 2012 (packaging)
Fresh awards – finalist 2012 (packaging)
Housewares Conference and Innovation Awards – finalist 2013 (product – Provenance cookbook stand)
We’ve also been featured in a number of magazines, including Monocle, and high-profile blogs such as Trendhunter.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
As you can see from our video, we have done extensive prototyping and production planning to ensure the smoothest possible path through manufacturing.
We are working with an international aluminium extrusion specialist that has plants across Europe. The extrusion we need to make is relatively large and will be made on a press they have in Spain which can work to the size and pressure required. Our design has been assessed in detail by their technical specialists and we have planned with them all aspects from the making of the die through to cutting the finished sections down into the individual wine racks and ensuring a high quality finish on the edges and the surfaces.
The greatest risk comes at the die making and first-run stage. With our specialist extrusion partners we have covered a series of risks from collapse of the extrusion to surface marking. Extrusion is their business and they confident that any issues can be overcome with adjustments to the die and to the process.
We have built into the timetable a realistic allowance of time and budget for running and finishing test extruded sections and for making such adjustments. This is to ensure a timely and high quality result.
The wine racks will have a finish applied by a specialist company in the UK. This will be a metallic powder coating with a subtle texture. This is the same finish used on the prototype shown in the video. This was applied by the same company that will finish the production versions so this part of the process has been fully tested. Nevertheless there can always be differences when scaling up a process so we have allowed for additional time in the finishing schedule too.
Yes it is.
We are based in the UK all wine racks will be despatched from there.
We have taken an average cost for shipping internationally and subtracted from this the allowance we have made for shipping within the United Kingdom.
Our wine rack is quite large and reasonably heavy (2.4kg). The size and weight means that it's not the cheapest item to ship but we have kept the shipping as low as possible. The good news is that this reflects the quality of the piece: it is made to last and go on giving value and enjoyment for many years.