"Protea- Its great terrior, great wines - I am just adding art to a bottle of already great art - celebrating the wine. I enjoy the mix of glass, art, wine and light. It is a collection of prints that are all inspired by the Cape." - Mark Eisen.
True design begins in one area and radiates outwards, often spilling over into other passions. Award winning designer, Mark Eisen is globally recognized for his unique definition of modernism visible in his fashion collections and a variety of creative special projects. That same aesthetic is visible in his soon-to-be launched glass collections where form marries function.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Eisen moved to America at the age of 19, eventually settling in New York. His fashion career took off in 1988 with an unprecedented success: His collection of 'Couture Denim' was simultaneously launched at Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.
With design and sample making workrooms in the USA, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong, Eisen went on to build an eponymous international luxury fashion brand that was presented in twelve consecutive shows at New York Fashion Week.
His collections sold for twenty years in more than 800 stores in eighteen countries and were regularly showcased in magazines and newspapers including American, Italian, British and French Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Wallpaper, The New York Times, and Newsweek. Along with his minimalist, modern design aesthetic, Eisen is known for his luxurious, sexy, sophisticated collections and his love of color.
His ability to translate his design sensibility to multiple mediums has seen him create a customized special Eisen Edition Chevrolet Camaro for General Motors; feature in Absolut Vodka's international ad campaign "Absolut Eisen"; design a Harley Davidson apparel collection; and custom stage wardrobes for The Rolling Stones, The Who's Pete Townsend, and Faith Hill for the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony in 1996.
Throughout his career, traversing time zones and continents, Eisen has embodied a modern cross-cultural global perspective.
This exposure to diverse forms of design expression developed his inspiration and love of glass. It was during these travels that he first visited Murano, Italy nourishing a deep respect for the centuries old traditions and techniques of creating, blowing, and molding glass.
Now, his signature mix of art, timeless style, technical advancement, nature, and beauty has been seamlessly integrated into his greatly anticipated first glass collections and collaborations. The result of a lifelong dream, these are slated to be his most exciting projects yet.
Eisen recently purchased a centuries-old French Huguenot wine farm in Franschhoek, in the Cape Winelands. He, along with his wife Karen and their two children, now splits his time between New York and South Africa.
It’s very simple, in one sense at least: I love beautiful things. I wanted to help create something beautiful. I loved the concept of making the bottle more of an object of beauty – of adding to the body of the content of the wine. I saw it as an opportunity to tell a more complete story through art.
You know, there’s always been this strong link between wine and art – a link forged by Nature in wine’s very existence, its essence, and one that we really don’t want to let go of. We talk about the art of winemaking. We make artistic labels that reflect that winemaking art. Go to a gallery opening or any kind of even where art is being celebrated and wine will always be there. It’s a very powerful collection, and taking that idea a big step further – beyond simply the label – was very exciting.
Exactly. Like wine, proteas take so many forms. They have so many subtle variations of beauty. I believe there are over 1,500 species of proteas. They flourish in the fynbos, the unique habitat in the Western Cape, and are intermixed with wine farms. They are such a unique and special part of the beauty of the Cape.
As a culture we lived through a time in which it was assumed that things would be created and then discarded. Then we began to see that as wasteful and began recycling. Now people are taking it a step further and finding all kinds of creative ways to give things a second or third life – and protea is definitely of a part of that movement.
I’ll admit, I’m quite taken by the idea of people falling in love with these bottles! I have this vision of someone leaning over to put a bottle of protea in the recycling bin and stopping themselves and thinking, ‘No, I’m going to keep this.’ And then it becomes a decoration, or a water bottle, or they put their ice tea in it, or olive oil. I love the idea that we might inspire that new way of thinking in people.
Inspiration : The richness, depth, purity, sophistication, beauty and colourful vibrance found in Poppies was the inspiration for the Cab Sauv. Poppies are found in abundance, scattered in and around vineyard gardens of the most beautiful Western Cape Winelands.
Inspired by Classic French wallpapers and patterns found in homes in the traditional wineland homes, introduced by the early French Huguenot settlers in the late 1600s.
Inspiration : The inspiration was to honour the vine and its well found natural terroir in the Cape Winelands; the intensive viticultural importance and aspect of the wine making annual lifecycle. Rich in history, the Syrah leaf, like the wine, has a full-bodied leaf with a soft earthy leather feel.
Inspiration : Chrysanthemums play a big part of the Cape Vineyard Flora - they are vibrant, happy and luscious. - a useful pioneer, screening plant and popular with birds and bees. These flowers and their abundance bring so much life and activity and natural beauty to the Cape Winelands.
Inspired by the floral iron and metal works created by the early Dutch and French settlers that adorn the Cape Vineyard homesteads.
The Wildflower yearly offers a grand display in the Northern Cape and is one of the most prominent members of the Fynbos family. It is therefore fitting that it adorns one of the most prominent wines, the Sauvignon blanc.
The paisley print was brought to Europe via South Africa by the Dutch East India Company, as traders rounded the Cape in the middle of the 17th century from India. That same influence of the traders resulted in the first vineyards being planted in South Africa at the same time. So there’s a very strong historical and cultural tie, and then from there I had fun. It’s a lively, bright wine and I wanted a design that captured that.c
Inspired by the beautiful, soft, floral entrances typically found on the Cape Wine Estates. ( L'Ormarins entrance is a great example)
Anthonij Rupert Wyne proudly introduces the Protea Range.Everything about this range seeks to marry the old with the new. The heritage of the vines, innovatively tied into distinctive packaging designs, is made to be re-used and recycled, thus prolonging the lifecycle of the product.
Mark Eisen’s Cape-inspired prints add an enduring element to the Protea range. After the wine has been enjoyed and the table cleared, these bottles challenge us with a number of creative possibilities. Why dispose of a functional piece of art?