Bombay Sapphire has, like many upmarket spirits and champagne brands, long since identified the creative industries as an important audience. Creatives love to party, and if they do so through drinks sponsorship, so much the better for all concerned. That’s the thinking, anyway.
However, the distinctive blue-bottled gin brand has taken its interest in design beyond providing free drinks for industry events. Through the Bombay Sapphire Foundation, it has involved itself in nurturing new talent through annual initiatives such as the Bombay Sapphire Prize, the Bombay Sapphire Designer Glass Competition and the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award for emerging talent.
The main prize, open to architects, designers and artists from across the globe, carries a prize of £20 000, while the Designer Glass Competition offers up-and-coming designers a £10 000 first prize, with £5000 for the runner-up, as well as the chance to show their designs at key design events across the world.
The foundation, set up in 2001 ‘to recognise, encourage and reward the very best in contemporary design and, in particular, glass design’, owes much to the commitment and energy of its director, Angela Oakes. Under her guidance, it has developed its international awards schemes and extended its collaborations, not least with designer Tom Dixon – who created the Perfectly Balanced bar and a collectable Martini glass for last year’s London Design Festival – and London-based graduate show New Designers.