THE PERPLEXING PINT GLASS PROBLEM
The UK has a problem with a capital P: Pint glasses. Bar brawls involving “glassings” (when an offender smashes a glass into a victim’s face) have gotten so bad they account for an estimated 55OO out of 87,OOO incidents of alcohol-related violence annually that involve glass and it’s costing the UK billions. To try and stem the problem, the Home Office invited designers to come up with ways of making the pint glass a less effective weapon. Current pint glasses are made from heat-treated toughened glass, which makes them hard to break. However, if you smash the top off one, it fragments from the rim downwards, leaving a jagged base. London-based Design Bridge won the pitch with its Ultimate Pint glass, which is produced by glass maker Arc International. The agency gave the toughened glass a more rounded base and a consistent wall thickness, making it five times stronger than a standard pint glass. And importantly, Ultimate Pint’s rounded base means that if it does break, it fractures from the base up rather than top downwards – “reverse breakage”. Arc says an Ultimate Pint glass shatters into harmless tiny cubes, so that only 1 percent of it remains intact. Whatever happened to just dumping a beer out on your opponent’s head?