Clorox designers make art with the company’s famous bleach bottle

on August 18, 2011

To celebrate the company’s upcoming 100-year anniversary, designers from Oakland-based household products manufacturer Clorox have turned dozens of its iconic bleach bottles into artistic works. On Wednesday afternoon, the company kicked off an exhibition of these works at Oakland City Center to present the public with an alternative usage of what otherwise would be thrown away.

“We challenged the artists to take the bleach bottle as the foundation of an art piece,” said Anthony Luk, the design manager for Clorox. Luk said the bleach bottle was chosen because it’s an “iconic symbol” of the company’s brand. “This piece is really my haiku,” said Luk, pointing at one of his works called “Haiku de Chair,” which is a sculpture made of a real Clorox bottle and half of a fabric fish. “This is a normal bleach bottle transforming into ocean life,” he said. “The idea is that salt is the basic generator of bleach.”

Luk said all the pieces shown on Wednesday were made by artists who by day are package or web designers for the company; the works were created during their off-time. According to a statement displayed at the showroom, “While the Clorox Bleach bottle was the cornerstone and basis for each project, ultimately, The Clorox Company had no hand in guiding the creative expressions seen within the exhibit.”

About a dozen of pieces are displayed in the room, including sculptures, paintings and other installations, and they include materials other than just bottles. A sculpture by Peter Matsukawa called “da Fish” was made from two taped-together bottles; the fins and tail of the fish are made of Chukar quail and pheasant feathers from Kansas and Missouri.

“It’s fun; it’s different,” said Jennifer Fish, who was drawn into the exhibition room when passing by. “It’s great that they opened it up and let people potentially make fun of them.”

“I’m very disappointed that there aren’t any piggy banks here,” said visitor Joanne Lieberman with a laugh, recalling that when she was a child, she used to make piggy banks out of Clorox’s bottles. “As children we didn’t realize that we were recycling.”

The show will continue two weeks until September 2 at Suite 169, Oakland City Center. The show’s hours are 1-3 pm on weekdays.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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