Japanese industrial designer and former Buddhist monk Kenji Ekuan (1929-2015) designed the iconic Kikkoman soy sauce bottle in 1961. His bottle is so beautiful that MOMA considers it a work of art and has it in its collection:
The bottle had to fit in with the minimalist Japanese aesthetic and be comfortable to hold— goals he achieved by designing a wide-bottomed bottle that tapers at the neck and ever so slightly funnels out at the very top. The see-through glass, functional in that it allows the consumer to see how much soy sauce is left and beautiful in its simplicity, contrasts with a bright red cap that adds visual depth to the dark sauce. The spout posed the greatest dilemma, as soy sauce has about as much viscosity as wine: none at all. Ekuan developed close to one hundred models, none of which succeeded in both preventing drip and controlling flow. An inward angle on the tip of the spout proved the right solution, preventing the sauce from pooling in the spout and dripping onto the table.
Matthew Clark of Odachi Design saw room for improvement in Ekuan's design, in particular, the lid. He wrote:
Soy sauce's greatest enemy is oxygen. So, with my design, I harnessed the capabilities of 3D printing to integrate a gravity valve within the lid itself. This is achievable with 3D printing, but costly or much more difficult otherwise. The valve is printed within the top when it's produced. This was created to effectively maintain the flavor and shelf-life. After every pour, the remaining liquid aids the seal.
From outward appearance, Clark's lid looks identical to Etuan's. Here's a video of a 3D printer making the new lid:
Clark hopes to put his lid into production, but as Fabaloo notes, Kikkoman might not be pleased with that:
The next step for Clark and Odachi Design is to move this prototype into production, as it will have to be made in a food safe manner.
However, Odachi Design may face troubles if Kikkoman enforces legal restrictions on their design, as Honda have recently done to other 3D designers.
Clark's lid redesign reminds me of my own Japanese condiment lid project from a couple of years back to make a Kewpie mayonnaise lid attachment that lets me store the bottles upside down.