THE RUSSIAN VODKA GLASS
COMBINING TRADITION AND CULTURE
In Russia, the 100 ml glass (commonly known as STAKAN or, in slang, “STOPKA”) was introduced to the market on 11th September 1943. It was the design of renowned sculptor Vera Mukhina, who had to curb her creativity because of strict technical restrictions and the specific demands dictated by the glass purpose. The measurements, size, shape, and design of the “STAKAN”, in fact, had a primarily functional scope for use in the catering industry. In addition, the 100 ml glass had to be compatible with the first dishwashers specially conceived by Soviet engineers. To prevent it from easily falling off tables it could not have a rounded shape; its faceted surface was not intended for aesthetic reasons, but as a way to make the glass more resistant, solid and durable. Over the years, however, the technical requirements of the past have given way to tradition, culture and history and have transformed a simple glass container into a cult object.
It is the many uses of the table-glass that have made all of this possible: it was employed for the first water and kvass (a typical Russian drink made from fermented rye bread) dispensers in schools, kindergartens and stations. Because of this, it has promoted social integration and sharing amongst many different people during their everyday life in Russia.