Alcohol related violence has fallen by 33% since 1997, yet there remain 87,000 violent incidents involving glassware each year, which can leave victims badly injured and their families and communities disrupted as well as costing the NHS an estimated £2.7 billion.
Glasses and bottles used as weapons can intimidate victims, bar staff or bystanders and cause serious injuries. The Design Out Crime project is developing safer alternatives to traditional glasses by engaging industry, trade and consumers in creating solutions.
Designing a safer pint glass
Two revolutionary prototype pint glasses have been designed to reduce the injuries caused by glassing attacks.
The Design Out Crime project has developed two revolutionary prototype pint glasses that have been designed to reduce the injuries caused by glassing attacks. The designs represent the first major advance in pub glassware since the 1960s and feature new high-tech ways of using glass, so they feel the same as conventional glasses, but crucially do not create loose, dangerous shards if broken.
After consulting the experts on the problem (the victims, publicans, materials specialists, emergency services and drinks brand owners) the Design and Technology Alliance Against Crime appointed a team of specialist designers at agency Design Bridge to prototype options for a safer pint glass.
With the help of Crimewatch’s Nick Ross, we created this video to explain the problem of alcohol related violence and how designers have been creating solutions.
Specialist design consultancy Design Bridge used research compiled by students from InnovationRCA, the business network of the Royal College of Art.
Download a PDF copy of our Insights Book, or read on to find out more about the violence and victims, the injuries - accidental and inflicted -and to read case studies of projects that have already tried to effect change.
There are still plenty of other opportunities for designers to create their own solutions to alcohol-related violence and for the drinks industry to commission them. What could you do with this information?
How designers can help
- Understanding the problem
The preliminary research compiled in the Insights Book shows how designers start by researching the problem and considering its impact on people, society and business processes.
- Get to know the users. And abusers
Designers deliver products that meet users’ wants and needs but designing out crime also requires designers to think about the people who abuse and misuse the system whilst still keeping the users at the forefront of their consideration.
- Research design ideas
What does it means to design safer products? What constitutes safe as well as practical?
- Search for appropriate materials and technologies
Consideration for commercial realities is very important at this stage for designers. Consultation with material and technology experts offers great insight as does looking at other market sectors to see how they resolved issues relating to glassware
- Sketching and visualising ideas
Computer models enable designers to visualise and communicate their solutions to each other and interested parties.
- Making models to test and use results to develop ideas
3 D models of to understand the look, feel and performance of the potential solutions. These prototypes are important to explain how scale production can be done.
Through this process Design Bridge created dozens of initial concepts from which two were selected to be prototyped and tested by manufactures and the drinks industry.
Designing the next generation British pint glass
Design Bridge has developed two prototype pint glasses which represent the first major advance in pub glassware since the 1960s and feature new high-tech ways of using glass, so they feel the same as conventional glasses, but crucially do not create loose, dangerous shards if broken.
This looks just like a regular pint glass but has a thin transparent coating of bio-resin on the inside. This makes it stronger and if the glass is broken it binds together dangerous shards - drastically reducing the likelihood of injury to customers and staff.
See renders of the final concepts on Flickr
A revolutionary design, made by bonding two ultra-thin layers of glass together in a concept similar to laminated car windscreens. It makes the pint glass extremely difficult to break, but in the event that it does smash, any dangerous shards would be safely held together by a layer of resin.
Development of the prototypes, combined with further safety testing under laboratory conditions, will now take place before the glasses are tested in a pubs and clubs.
As part of the Design Out Crime programme, the Design Council is already in talks with major pub chains about trialling the Glass Plus glasses, which it is hoped will be ready within 12 months. The Twin Wall designs will be further refined in consultation with manufacturers to investigate possible large scale production processes.