Buzzy French label Coperni co-founded in 2013 by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, takes its name from the astronomer Copernicus. For the holiday season it has partnered with Evian on a collectible $4.50 glass bottle—according to Coperni co-founder Vaillant, “the cheapest product we’ve ever done.”
Centered around an imaginary meeting between Copernicus and Evian founder, the Marquis de Lessert, it features an illustrated galaxy where the the universes of the two brands are intertwined, their tropes fashioned as astrological symbols—from the mountains of Evian’s glacial home at Évian-les-Bains to Coperni’s signature Swipe Bag.
While visible on the bottle’s exterior, the storytelling is also viewable on the inside via a clear roundel. “It’s like a portal, Meyer told Forbes. “We wanted to create an experience, something very private and personal.”
The bottle also comes with a neat smartphone hack. Simply turn on your phone’s torch feature and place it underneath the bottle and it resembles a miniature space rocket. Low-fi but surprisingly effective. At a dinner to celebrate the launch hosted in the Coperni studio in partnership with culinary collective We Are Ona, the latter’s team developed said hack into the event’s lighting concept, placing the bottles atop led lights on the table.
This low-fi approach to design marks a sharp contrast with Coperni’s Paris Fashion Week productions. The brand, which draws much of its inspiration from science and innovation, is known for cutting-edge runway activations such as a dress made from an innovative spray-on fabric created by materials laboratory Fabrican being live painted onto supermodel Bella Hadid and robot dogs by Boston Dynamics interacting with human protagonists.
Most recently, Coperni debuted personal artificial intelligence (AI) device, the Humane AI Pin on its September runway—as worn by a model cast including Naomi Campbell. According to the duo, they like to use Coperni as “a platform” for showcasing emerging technologies.
“Sébastien (Meyer) finds a lot of inspiration in tech symbols and icons like the blue tooth (in the form of the little bow that closes the bags),” said Vaillant. Likewise the Swipe Bag. Its shape draws on the ‘swipe to unlock’ icon of an iPhone.
Vaillant described how they met Humane AI co-founder Imran Chaudri—a former designer at Apple
But this wasn’t Coperni’s first engagement with AI. Vaillant revealed that it had also played a role in the design of the previous season’s ‘Wolf and the Lamb’ collection—a contemporary take on Jean de la Fontaine’s seventeenth century fable.
“We needed a print but we didn’t have the time or the money to do it so we used the DALL·E application,” he said. DALL·E uses AI to create visuals from written prompts.
Once the print had been generated by the AI they had a human artist repaint it by hand “to connect the two worlds” he explained, emphasizing the importance of “the human input on top.”
“AI is one of the biggest revolutions of our time as long as we use it in the right way,” he said, likening it to the advent of the internet. “Obviously there are things that will disappear—like the phone directory —but it’s part of the game.”
At the time of the interview, last month, Meyer and Vaillant were awaiting delivery of their own Humane AI Pins. Meyer was eager to put its translation facility to use on trips abroad. “The translator is insane,” he said, “We were in Korea and China last week so it would have been amazing there. It’s going to change everyday life, we can’t wait.”
The Coperni x Evian collaboration follows partnerships with brands and designers including Balmain, Virgil Abloh and Jean Paul Gaultier.