The world of distillation is a male-dominated one, so we got excited when the distiller Marthe Bøhn asked us to create the brand and packaging design for her latest undertaking a Gullmunn Spritfabrikk, with a cask matured akevitt being the first product.
Female vision opposes the Anthropocentric vision that has dominated our society, with a belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe. We wanted to portray an image of nature where every being is equally important. With this starting point, we saw a possibility to create a different narrative in the spirits category. The naming of the distillery is inspired by Herman Hesse's novel 'Gullmunn og Narcissus' in which the protagonist Gullmunn represents nature, exploration and a “feminine mind”.
The illustration is an homage to Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) and her study of the butterfly’s symbiotic relationship to plants. Maria Sybilla herself worked in a male dominated profession and her studies are today considered the very foundation of the term ecology. The butterfly´s metamorphosis on the oak branch represents rebirth and change, and is a metaphor to the process of distillation itself where liquid turns to vapour, before reappearing again as a purified product. Oak barrels are used in the maturation of the akevitt.
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) is considered among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology, because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. She worked in a male dominated world and her contribution has been overlooked by most historians of science.
In 1705, Merian published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, for which she became famous. Her illustrations were not only the first to depict the life cycles of insects along with their plant hosts; they were also the first to emphasize interactions among the species portrayed – the very foundation of the study of ecology.
The butterfly is one of the most symbolic animals connected to life and the power of personal transformation. Encountering a butterfly is the sign of the transition from an old life to a new life, from a state of ignorance to a state of awareness.
The glass shape is inspired by vintage apothecary bottles and and the engraved cork is made in oak. The illustration technique is pointillism and is silkscreened on the bottle with 7 colours. The decorated bottle is inviting to be reused as a carafe once the bottle is empty and the label is off. The main typographical label is inspired by taxonomical documents employing a subtle grey paper, while the foot label is gold hot-foiled.
All collaborators in this project were women.