The Second Line Cocktail Service

Geoffrey Mann glass captures a moment of connection in New Orleans

By New Orleans Museum of Art

Mel Buchanan, RosaMary Curator of Decorative Arts & Design

"The Second Line" Cocktail Set (2017) by Geoffrey Mann; Jochen HolzNew Orleans Museum of Art

The Second Line Cocktail Service

Designer Geoffrey Mann combines cutting-edge digital technologies and time-honored craft to make thoughtful observations about materials, human emotions, and the passage of time. In The Second Line Cocktail Service, a commission for the New Orleans Museum of Art, Mann demonstrates that ordinary objects can capture extraordinary connections that happen in a fleeting moment. The undulating, dancing shapes of these drinking vessels and the accompanying animation video embody not only the cadence of jazz in New Orleans, but forever hold, in three-dimensional glass, a moment when two strangers came together.

The work of art begins with a set of cocktail glasses in skewed versions of recognizable shapes.

There's a martini glass and a wine glass...

...a champagne coupe...

...a hurricane glass and a margarita glass...

...with a cocktail shaker...

...and its lid.

In a nod to the specific drinking culture of New Orleans, Mann includes a "go cup." These small plastic cups are commonly stacked in French Quarter bars so patrons can bring along their beverage as they wander into the street.

While all the drinking glasses are recognizable, the classic shapes are interrupted with waves and ripples. Why? How was this done and what does it mean?

Origin of the Design

These glasses began with the idea that a moment can be captured in an object. On a busy night in 2016, Geoffrey Mann recorded what he heard on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. The visiting Scottish artist was touched by a meaningful conversation with band leader Aaron Blanks, set to lively jazz on the street. Back at his studio computer, Mann used these recorded sounds to directly derive the shapes in The Second Line Cocktail Service. In Mann's computer-modeling software, the sound waves of the encounter digitally pass through the classic barware shapes. The next screen shows this digital design animation.

Digital Animation for "The Second Line" Cocktail Set (2017) by Frederick Carder, designer and Geoffrey MannNew Orleans Museum of Art

The sound in this animation is the audio recording made on Nov 11, 2016, by Geoffrey Mann on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans. Aaron Blanks, leader of the young All Star Brass Musicians from the Treme neighborhood, spoke of the city's second-line parading traditions, and how the teenagers' brass instruments transcend music to become cultural symbols of history, diversity, equality, and hope.

The sound waves of the music and conversation pass through Mann's digital designs for the barware set.

"The Second Line" Cocktail Set (2017) by Geoffrey Mann; Jochen HolzNew Orleans Museum of Art

The Moment Captured

Hitting "pause" on the animation, Geoffrey Mann captures each glass in a unique shape altered by the sound wave's rise and fall of jazz and conversation. These digital designs were rendered in three dimensions through rapid prototyping (3D printing) in nylon. The final shaker top and lid are the printed nylon plated with gold. For the final glass objects (because glass cannot yet be printed) the nylon shape was painstakingly copied by artist Jochen Holz using traditional lamp-work glass techniques.

Objects as Sentient

In The Second Line Cocktail Service, the glass and video animation act together to demonstrate how new technologies encourage us to think of familiar objects in new ways. This everyday glass barware witnessed two strangers connecting, and in its unique undulating shape will forever reflect that split second of human interaction. Geoffrey Mann's work asks us to consider that while we as users engage on an emotional level with objects around us, perhaps those objects, too, are emotionally connecting with us.

Credits: Story

This work of art was featured at the New Orleans Museum of Art in the exhibition “The Second Line” Cocktail Service, on view August 2018 through August 2019.

Full credit for artwork:

Geoffrey Mann (British, b. 1980)
Jochen Holz, glassworker (German, active London, b. 1970)

"The Second Line" Cocktail Set, 2017
Edition 1 / 1

Champagne coupe, wine glass, martini glass, margarita glass, hurricane glass, and "go cup": borosilicate glass, lathe and flame-worked
Cocktail shaker and lid: borosilicate glass, lathe and flame worked, 3D-printed nylon plated with gold
Digital animation video (1 min 40 sec)

New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum purchase, William McDonald Boles and Eva Carol Boles Fund, 2016.23.a-.h

© Geoffrey Mann Studio

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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