Design Moment: Martini glass, 1925

Glass first displayed at exhibition in Paris is highly decorative and visually sophisticated

While the origins of the martini cocktail are lost in the mists of time and bartender lore – not surprisingly, given the drink’s strength – the origin of the martini glass is easier to measure.

The International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris in 1925 was held to showcase the new “style moderne”, then the dominant style across all design disciplines in Europe from architecture to jewellery.

Angular shapes

Later called art deco – after the name of the exhibition – the aesthetic featured stripped back, angular shapes. The martini glass that was first displayed at the exhibition fits the bill, a geometric shape to replace the coupe – the shallow-rounded glass long used for Champagne.

Highly decorative and visually sophisticated, the martini glass is also practical: holding the drink by the stem means the chilled liquid is not warmed by the hand and the wide brim lets the drinker enjoy the aromatics in the alcohol while the base, in classical martini glasses not the over-sized glasses currently in vogue, approximates the size of the brim and gives stability.

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast