In 1933, the first canned ale was tested in Virginia—needless to say, consumers welcomed the change which paved the way for easy-to-transport, easy-to-store, disposable cans. Initially made of steel with a flat top, they required a sharp opener, or church key, to pierce triangular openings—one to drink from, and another on the opposite side which allowed air into the can to improve the pour out.
The evolution to lightweight aluminum was inevitable due to the drawbacks of steel—not only was a lining required to protect the contents, steel is inherently prone to rust and the heavier weight meant transportation costs were higher than necessary.
Easy-to-use pull tabs replaced the need to keep an opener handy—but they also heralded an increase in emergency room visits as the sharp edges cut fingers and feet or, in worst-case scenarios, drinkers choked on the tab they’d kept safe in the can. Today, wide mouth openings created by attached tabs are the norm—but as small brews flourish, the capped bottle is seeing a revival.
What’s your favorite room in your home?
Our bedroom is all white and wood, with a few pops of color. Being able to relax in an environment where you have no design compromises is very relaxing.
In your opinion, what is the best designed item of all time?
Left handed scissors.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Vintage furniture, rough framing, public works and infrastructure like railroad trestles, art, nature, beautiful food.
What do you drive?
Subaru station wagon.
What one item do you wish you owned?
A house near the water.
What are your interests outside of design?
Bicycle riding and cooking.
Who are you design icons?
Marcel Breuer, Alexander Calder, Andy Goldsworthy, Finn Juhl, Daniel Burnham.
Form vs. function?
Both, together forever and ever.
What’s your favorite possession?
What is your personal decorating style?
Clean and modern with natural accents and lots of colorful art.
What was/is your biggest indulgence?
Summer trips to Maine.
Do you have one low budget decorating tip?
Sub floors make great floors!
What’s the best career advice you ever received? Ever gave?
Always innovate… No asky, no getty.
To see all of Zak’s current works for CB2, go here.