Water-shaped bottles by Xiaoli Wen


Kingston University graduate Xiaoli Wen has created a series of porcelain bottles shaped by a waterfall.

Called Water-Shaped Bottles, the project involved  designer making silicone rubber moulds of discarded plastic and glass bottles.

The moulds were filled with plaster and allowed to cure while hanging under flowing water.

These casts were used to slip-cast the final bottles in porcelain.

Here's some text from the designer:




Water does not have its own shape. It is shaped by its container. Now water wants to change the container’s shape therefore to decide its shape by itself. It is a philosophical thinking about active or passive, change or be changed.

This project allows water, in this case ‘river’, to act as a creative force to change the liquid container’s shape.

A small number of bottles were selected which people casually discarded into rivers – bottles of mineral water, Coca-Cola, beer, whisky and gin. Trial and error in the river let a process evolve whereby these discarded bottles could be poetically represented to show the spirit of the river upon them.

The final objects could be new bottles with corks or vases made by porcelain. When we pour water into the new containers, the water inside is shaped by water itself.

The process:

  • Chose original bottles.
  • Covered the bottles with thin layer of clay.

  • Made 2-part plaster mould from the bottles covered with clay.
  • Poured silicone rubber into plaster mould with bottles inside.
  • Demoulded and got silicone rubber moulds which are flexible.

  • Poured plaster into the flexible mould.
  • Sealed the flexible mould.
  • Put the mould into fishing net.

  • Hanged the fishing net into waterfall.
  • Kept holding the net for half an hour.
  • Waited until the plaster dried.

  • Demoulded and got shaped plaster mould.
  • Remade new mould by shaped plaster mould.
  • Slip cast porcelain bottles.
  • Final objects.

Posted on Wednesday November 18th 2009 at 8:51 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • mark muscat

    would be great if a drink manufacturer were to actually use these bottles

  • I dunno. I seem to see a lot of everyday objects represented in porcelain, timber and concrete. It seems to be what you do nowadays to look like an artist.

  • Laar

    It charms me because it isn’t about how the product looks but the way to make it. In the world where every designer is armed with 3dmax, maya and Rhino, he explores the opportunity of new forms by using the nature. It is very experimental and the result is modern and refreshing. Well done!

  • Beautiful work & process

  • Maxence

    A very good method to destroy efforts of the designers.
    The water has no shape, ok. But making objects on a conceptual idea to put this in a gallery and in fact destroy the design process for mass consumer.
    What a beautiful world.

  • Cool, i think the concept is very nice. Although for me the final object is not very pretty, I think the concept can be taken further. If water is to shape itself, the form could be further away from a common bottle and more “watery”.

  • AsWicked

    What's watery? It simply would be round.