Today, a notable dispatch from the beautifully designed but prohibitively priced department (if my Yen to U.S. dollars conversion proves to be correct):

Nendo, Oki Sato's prolific Tokyo-based design firm behind the curious “Bird-Apartment” installed at a nature preserve in Komoro City, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to release a stunning/utilitarian collection of modern tableware crafted from recycled glass soda bottles.

Dubbed Bottleware, the five-piece collection — strictly serving bowls and dishes — is handcrafted by glass blowers in the Aomori Prefecture from 100 percent recycled Coca-Cola contour bottles. These iconic green-tinted (their official color is “Georgia Green,” by the way) beverage vessels were invented in 1916 and although somewhat scarce stateside, are still used in many countries around the world where they’re collected, rinsed, refilled, and reused over and over again. As for the “degraded” bottles that can’t be reused for their original purpose and are removed from circulation, this is where Bottleware comes in.

Elaborates Nendo:

This tableware collection is made from bottles that have deteriorated over the course of extensive recycling, and can no longer be used for their original purpose. We were captivated by the particular green tint known as Georgia Green, and by the fine air bubbles and distortions that are a hallmark of recycled glass, so decided to create simple shapes that would enhance these traits. But we also wanted users to feel a remnant of the distinctive bottle in the new products.

Our solution was to create bowls and dishes that retain its distinctive lower shape, as though the top had been sliced off. The dimpling on the bottle base that added to mitigate hot impacts during the production process is not ordinarily a strong visual feature, but it’s a particular characteristic of glass bottles and visible to anyone who picks up the bottle to drink. Keeping these ring-shaped dimples on the base of our bowls and plates also helps to convey important messages about the way that glass circulates between people as it’s made, used and recycled for further use, and about the connections it makes between people in this process.

Got it. The Bottleware collection showed back in early November at Designtide Tokyo and is currently for sale at a number of retailers including the Japanese outposts of the Conran Shop and the MoMa Design Store. They’re also available through Japan’s official Coca-Cola store. That said, I’m guessing Bottleware will be a strictly Japan-only affair. However, if you’re interested in investing in recycled glass tableware, I recommend the less spendy but no less beautiful tranSglass line of tumblers, carafes, vases, and the like from Artecnica that’s made by Guatemalan artisans through a partnership with Aids to Artisans

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Recycled glass Coke bottles treated to high-design afterlife in Japan
Coca-Cola teams up with Tokyo-based design studio Nendo to release a collection of gorgeous recycled glass tableware dubbed, most fittingly, Bottleware.