WOBO (World Bottle)


The Heineken WOBO (World Bottle) was a beer bottle designed for use as a building material in the developing world. According to the company, when brewing magnate Alfred Heineken was in Curaçao in 1960 he saw many bottles littering the beach because the island had no economic means of returning them to bottling plants. He was also concerned with the lack of affordable building materials and the inadequate living conditions plaguing Curaçao’s lower-class. Envisioning a solution for these problems, he asked Dutch architect N. John Habraken to design what he called ‘a brick that holds beer.’

The bottle was designed to be interlocking, laid horizontally and bonded with cement mortar with a silicon additive. A 10 ft (3.0 m) x 10 ft (3.0 m) shack would take approximately 1,000 bottles to build. In 1963, 100,000 WOBO’s were produced in two sizes, 350 and 500 mm. This size difference was necessary in order to bond the bottles when building a wall, in the same way as a half brick is necessary when building with bricks. Unfortunately, most of them were destroyed, and they are now very rare and have become a collector’s item.

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