Iceberg in a Bottle
Quidi Vidi Brewery
Perforated aluminum and Iceberg beer bottles
Quidi Vidi Brewery needed a permanent docking gate for aesthetic and operational functions. It needed to keep pedestrians out, let deliveries in, screen the view of the “business end” of the brewery, and be engineered to withstand our mighty winds. My creative solution applies at the face of the gate, which will be used to support a “canvas” constructed of sheet aluminum that’s been custom-perforated to allow for a unique inlay treatment and reduce wind resistance on blustery days.
Quidi Vidi Brewery is associated with many brands, but none more recognizable than the iconic blue bottle of Iceberg Beer. Iceberg in a Bottle is a playful interpretation of that. The background of the gate face is perforated aluminum painted in a bold blue to match the colour of an Iceberg beer bottle. An artfully rendered image of an iceberg painted with reflective colour application morphs into the neck of the beer bottle. For distinct textural treatment that’s true to the business and the brand, parts of that surface are perforated with holes one inch in diameter to accommodate sections of the necks of Iceberg beer bottles. They were cut, sanded and mounted to allow sections of the bottle to protrude on either side.
Vessela Brakalova was born in communist Europe during the Cold War, and her country, Bulgaria, was a strong ally of the Soviet Union. She grew up in the capital city of Sofia and began rigorous art training at 12 years of age. Vessela earned her Master’s degree in Fine Art and worked in book publishing before moving to Newfoundland and Labrador as a political refugee in 1990.
Soon after, she became a founding partner of the successful design firm Vis-a-Vis Graphics Inc. A company with a reputation for ingenious design, branding, publishing and interpretive design. Her special touch with unconventional techniques and varnishes has won a gold medal for book design at the ICE Awards, Halifax, in 2012.
Then, classical mosaic hijacked her artistic life. Modern, personal interpretations of this ancient medium led to major exhibitions at home and abroad, notably at International Art and Contemporary Mosaic MUSIWA15 in Florence, Italy, followed in 2018 by a major commission of mosaic-inspired murals for St. John’s International Airport with an estimated annual audience of 1.5 million travellers.
In 2021, Vessela was a proud participant in the Bonavista Biennale—a bi-annual exhibition of contemporary visual art by Indigenous, Newfoundland and Labrador, and other Canadian and international artists on the Bonavista Peninsula. When not making art, Vessela watches the ocean from her home in St. Philip’s, NL.
The Quidi Vidi Art Search is made possible through funding by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Rediscover Main Streets initiative, which supports the economy by helping Atlantic Canadians re-experience their main streets, downtowns and neighbourhoods. The initiative aims to breathe new life into local economies affected by the global pandemic.