The Design Challenge

The Ultimate Pint Glass, a toughened glass that causes less harm when smashed, is one of more than ten innovations developed as part of the Design Out Crime Design Challenge. It was created by a team from Design Bridge, Arc International and the Royal College of Art.

The problem

Alcohol-related crime costs the UK £8-13bn a year and the NHS alone spends £2.7bn dealing with the consequences, such as injuries from assaults. One of the biggest risks is ‘glassing’, when attackers turn smashed bottles and glasses into weapons.

An obvious solution is to make people drink from plastic vessels in all contexts, not just festivals and gigs, but this would diminish people’s drinking experience and harm business.

The solution

The Ultimate Pint Glass is made from toughened glass that’s much harder to smash. But if it does, it shatters, making it useless as a weapon. So the chances of being injured by glass if trouble breaks out in a pub, bar or club are massively reduced.

Initial research at the Royal College of Art identified various ways to gain the safety of plastic while maintaining the drinking experience of glass. Multiple variants of plastic/glass laminate were then explored by Bridge Design to discover what felt good and was manufacturable. But beyond that, how would you create more value for the pub, bar or club owner – how would you incentivize them to help save money for the NHS?

The answer was in certain features that aided pouring and made the glass five times more durable. The  Ultimate Pint Glass is not just a safer glass, it’s a better glass.

The Ultimate Pint Glass sold more than double the volume of its UK sales overseas in 2012. The glass is selling well in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Arc International sense a chance to transform their industry. They now make nine Ultimate glasses of different sizes and weights.

Find out more at

News & opinion

Knowledge & resources