Will that be shaken or stirred?

Nelson Cheng, a second-year York design student, is enjoying the ultimate martini cocktail experience. He took top prize in the Canadian leg of the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition for his design of a functional cocktail glass inspired by Bombay Sapphire premium gin that is packaged in a translucent blue glass bottle.

Right: Nelson Cheng (left) with glass blower Paull Rodrigue

For his efforts, Cheng was awarded an internship of his choice with a leading design firm in Calgary or New York City, as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Milan, Italy, where he will represent Canada at the global finals of the competition April 5-10. The prize was awarded to Cheng at an awards ceremony at the Sandra Ainsley Gallery in Toronto’s Distillery District on March 24.

Cheng, who departed for Milan on April 3, will enjoy a couple days of socializing, including meeting and mingling with the other world finalists, the judges and the Bombay Sapphire marketing teams. Then, on April 6, the world winner will be announced at an awards ceremony. In addition to earning the prestigious international title, the winner will be presented with a cash prize of US$15,000.

The finalists’ glasses will be displayed and judged on site at Salone del Mobile, Europe’s largest contemporary interior design exhibition held annually in Milan. Cheng’s cocktail glass will be keeping good company, displayed alongside the works of international design stars Dakota Jackson, Marcel Wanders, Karim Rashid and Yves Behar.

Left: Cheng’s winning design “Amalgam”

Open to aspiring designers who are of legal drinking age or older from around the world, the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition takes place in two phases – regionally and internationally. Regional participants include Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Regional winners automatically advance to the international competition.

At the regional stage of the competition, Cheng worked with glass blower Paull Rodrigue to bring his creation, titled “Amalgam”, to life. Rodrigue began working with glass in 1993, while studying at the Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning in the glass program.  He is now co-owner of Glen Williams Glass in Glen Williams, Ont., and actively exhibits throughout North America.

Regional entries were judged according to functionality, innovation, aesthetics and inspiration from the Bombay Sapphire brand. The adjudicators were Karim Rashid, Roy Banse, Scot Laughton and Christopher and Paul Massie, who are established stars of the international design community; gallery owner Sandra Ainsley; Nelda Rodger, who is founding editor of Azure, a design magazine; and Kelly Rude, editorial director of Canadian Interiors magazine.

In what will be a fun competition, Cheng is looking forward to having a drink from his winning glass to complete his ultimate martini cocktail experience.

Visit the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition Web site for more information on the competition and previous winners.

The York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design, Ontario’s first bachelor of design degree program, provides a professional education in a humanistic context. It is offered jointly by York University and the Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, Oakville.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.