How Siza Vieira conceived the Decanter of Zwiesel KristallGlas

The architect Siza Vieira has already designed buildings and objects related to wine. The latter was a decanter to celebrate the Douro region.

It's not new but there are those who do not know the artistic vein of Siza Vieira to draw objects related to the world of wine. In commemorating the 260th anniversary of the Douro Demarcated Region, the Douro and Porto Wine Institute (IVDP), in partnership with Zwiesel KristallGlas, one of the world's leading experts in glass and crystal, challenged architect Álvaro Siza Vieira to develop a work evocative of the ephemeris: a decanter studied to praise special wines. Thus was launched, at the end of 2018, an object with an innovative design, with curvature to the outside, something that poetically we could interpret as being the curves of the woman's body or those of the Douro River. But no, i'm not. According to Siza, after studying the function of the decanter and having observed several existing models, she realized that they were all very similar. I wanted to make a different model, thus imagining the curves facing the outside and not the interior, as is more common, never neglecting its functionality: "I had the idea of making a variation in the curve and it was found in the prototype of the decanter that it benefited the draining of wine through the walls. This has been an optimisation of form and functionality," explained the architect at the time.

Siza Vieira already has a history in the world of wine, and is a good connoisseur. In 2001 had already designed / redesigned the official glasses of Port wine for the event 'European Capital Port of Culture'; other wine objects for other entities. In architecture he signed in 2007 the project of Adega Mayor, the first author at national level, in Campo Maior, Alentejo; and in 2010 the wine aging warehouse of Quinta do Portal, in Celeirós, in the Douro.

For Manuel Cabral, at the time President of the Douro and Port Wine Institute (IVDP), Siza Viera was the most suitable person to design the decanter commemorating the 260th anniversary of the Douro Demarcation, not least because she had already worked with the renowned architect, even before he took office at that institution in 2011. It was Manuel Cabral who started the initiative, which later joined Zwiesel KristallGlas, who had already manufactured in the past the port wine glasses. Between loose talks and meetings, the project only went ahead in 2015, having finally been launched now in February 2018. "The result was beautiful and useful", says Manuel Cabral. "It's a beautiful, large decanter, it's for the most common bottles, 0.75L but also for Magnuns, 1.5L. Then it also facilitates the wine service because you can pick it up with one hand. Finally, the decanter was inspired by the demarcated douro region, but serves all special wines, from any region or country in the world," added Manuel Cabral.          

Ralf Schmidt-Stosberg, head of Schmidt-Stosberg, a company representing Zwiesel Kristallglas in Portugal

In the packaging in which it is sold, the decanter comes with a funnel to fit the neck, and its support. "Zwiesel Kristallglas is one of the market leaders and one of the world's leading specialists in the manufacture of glasses and wine decanters. The company's philosophy is to ally itself with great personalities from various areas to make a difference, hence this work with Siza Vieira makes perfect sense, not least because we had worked with him before", says Ralf Schmidt-Stosberg, head of the company with his nickname that in Portugal represents the well-known German company.

However, not everything was pink. Although Zwiesel Kristallglas produced the decanter and support, the funnel had to be manufactured by Vista Alegre, which, in the meantime, also allied with the project. "The most complicated problem to solve was that of the funnel. Siza wanted it to have an elegant beak, with small holes, which when produced always shard, so they needed a special polish that only Vista Alegre could do. In the end, everything went well. The set was launched and made a great success", finished the entrepreneur, recalling the day of the launch, in the gourmet store of El Corte Inglès.