Glass packaging is being undercut by plastic alternatives that can prove cheaper and more flexible to work with, so in response glass packaging manufacturers are having to fight back by incorporating more technology and functionality into their designs.
Gerresheimer was showcasing its latest launches under the slogan 'market for the finer senses', bringing together the companies subsidiaries, including Nouvelles Verreries de Momignies in Belgium and Tettauer Glashüttenwerke from Germany, as well as its other European subsidiaries.
In the past year Gerresheimer's cosmetics packaging business has undergone significant investment, including new production facilities in the USA and China, moves that have helped push the business into the global arena.
According to the company the trend in cosmetics and fragrance packaging now is to create a trend of your own in an effort to stand out from the crowd.
"There has never been greater independence and self-confidence in the field of cosmetics design," said Burkhard Lingenberg, Gerresheimer spokesperson.
"The result is even greater diversity at an even higher level of sophistication and quality."
Theme marketing is the buzzword and this is leading to all kinds of individualistic designs being promoted by packaging companies this year. In the glass arena, this is leading to some spectacular designs using techniques that only a few years ago were thought inconceivable.
Christian Lacroix has bought into this philosophy. The fashion designer's elaborate new fragrance flacon exudes detail from tip to toe. Its latest fragrance takes traditional shaped bottles and covers them with elegant ornamentation, loosely hanging around the neck and shoulders and then seamlessly surrounding the whole flacon - pour femme in gold on red and pour homme in silver and blue.
This packaging is an example of Gerresheimer's recently introduced sublimation technique which allows the entire glass surface to be coated without losing the character of glass. Indeed Lacroix has now commissioned Gerresheimer to create a whole flacon family including samplers.
Coloured glass is also making a splash in the company's line up this year. One example is the cream pot for Symbiocéa from Daniel Jouvance: a round container coated in turquoise with orange all-round wording.
The new AXE fragrance packaging has also gone for coloured glass. For this young men's perfume from Unilever, the design takes its inspiration from motor sport, with the so-called X Bottle made of feeder-coloured matt black glass, the company has used special surface finishing to give uncoated glass the appearance and feel of tyre rubber.
But it is not all about highly stylized design. One recent addition to the company's portfolio is the packaging for Michel Klein's ladies' perfume Cher. Presented in a pure, clear, thick-sided glass flacon with strict geometric proportions, it deliberately avoids decoration of any kind, instead going for simplicity and a clean smooth finish.