Ruinart Second Skin Inspires A World Of Sustainable Luxury Packaging
by Chloe Gordon on 05/06/2022 | 6 Minute Read
Maison Ruinart wishes to encourage brands to adopt innovative sustainable packaging solutions, and the packaging for the luxury brand's 100% recyclable eco-designed casing will surely inspire. The case acts as a sleek, innovative gifting packaging, showcasing the bottle's form and identity elegantly.
COLOURFORM from James Cropper spent over three years working with Maison Ruinart champagne and the team at Pusterla 1880 to develop a disruptive packaging that envelops the Ruinart champagne bottle like a second skin.The 100% recyclable eco-designed casing perfectly marries the emblematic silhouette of Ruinart’s signature bottles while preserving the integrity of the taste until the moment the champagne is enjoyed. This pioneering achievement is the fruit of a long-term collective commitment by teams COLOURFORM, the Champagne house and its partners.?
A paper mill must be located near a river, since water is indispensable to the manufacturing process. The case is created from wood pulp mixed with water and thermo-formed into a mould to allow the cellulose fibre to solidify to the shape of the bottle. During the process, 91% of the water used is recycled and is then clean enough to be released back into the river, resulting in very limited consumption. Half of the remaining 9% evaporates as the paper pulp is dried and the other half corresponds to the natural humidity in the case.
This bold project is a natural outgrowth of the decision by Ruinart’s teams over ten years ago to take sustainability initiatives to another level.The second skin packaging springs from this dynamic, aiming to push even further from the outset.
“We wanted to define and invent a new generation of sustainable cases, motivated by a desire to focus on the essential, meaning generating as little waste as possible in order to contribute at our level to protecting the environment, while at the same time protecting our champagnes,” says Marie Lipnitzky, International Brand Manager at Ruinart and Project Manager for the Second Skin Case.
Waste and recyclability were the top priorities during the thinking that led to the core concept of the project: the second skin had to have the least possible environmental impact while revealing the curves of the Ruinart bottle.The team quickly decided that only a single material should be employed to ensure easy and total recycling of the packaging. This was joined by a requirement that the case be opaque and have a memorably elegant design that reflects a brand with a reputation for excellence such as Ruinart, all while elevating desirability.CONTRIBUTION TO LUXURY SUSTAINABILITY CHALLENGE
The Second Skin Case is thus eco-friendly across the value chain. Minimal water consumption in the manufacturing process and the use of a single material both protect the environment. And the paper, 100% of which comes from eco-managed European forests, enables complete and efficient recycling.
WHAT IMPACT HAS THE INNOVATION HAD ON THE LUXURY SECTOR?
Maison Ruinart is also introducing a new way to gift and present champagne. The bottle is no longer hidden but showcased for everyone to see with its iconic form. The second skin becomes an enticing enclosure that opens to reveal the elegance of the flacon inside.
Energy from the James Cropper roof mounted PV systems and Hydro from a turbine on the River Kent is used across all Colourform production.Plus the case is exceptionally light, weighing in at just 40 grammes. All these factors have allowed Ruinart to reduce the carbon footprint of the case by 60% across the entire lifecycle compared with the previous generation of boxes, from sourcing of materials and transformation to transport, delivery and end of life processing.
The Second Skin Case is manufactured entirely at the COLOURFORM plant in England, which is located in the small village of Burneside at the edge of the Lake District National Park, a magnificent nature reserve. The park is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site and James Cropper has always ensured that its activities respect the environment. This proved a significant asset for Ruinart teams, who had established environmental responsibility as central to the project from its inception.
This new packaging will ultimately replace all current Ruinart single bottle gift boxes, this started in September 2020 for 75cl bottles and followed by magnums (1.5 litres). The Second Skin will envelop the entire Ruinart portfolio by 2022.
Altogether it took seven prototypes to get the perfect result. The case had to be impermeable to light to protect the champagne from light waves. Paper alone, however, is not sufficient to filter out all the light, so additional research and testing had to be done to find a new technique. The cellulose mix was enriched with natural metallic oxide – also used in making certain organic sun protection cosmetics – to reinforce the opacity. Oenological testing was conducted with each new prototype to ensure that the taste of the wine was impeccably preserved.A series of tests also had to be done to validate technical aspects of the case, in particular the closure, which had to be all-paper to respect the eco-design mandate. The finish of the case, including cutting with a high-pressure waterjet to ensure seamless edges.This design has and will continue to shape the industry as its initial disruption echoes through this and other categories in the packaging sector.
Ruinart hopes to inspire the entire industry and other sectors to adopt innovative sustainable packaging solutions. “We would be delighted to see this new approach embraced by other wines and spirits brands and even perfumes and cosmetics makers, since it would work equally well for that sector. We believe that an environmentally responsible solution such as this makes a significant contribution. We hope that other houses will be motivated to use it as well,” Marie Lipnitzky adds.WHY IS IT INNOVATIVE?No packaging anything like a second skin existed in the market and the team literally began with a blank page.
Right from the first look, the new package stands apart from anything previously designed. This bold 180° change was an obvious choice for Ruinart and very much attuned to the times, says Marie Lipnitzky. “We believe this case is completely in phase with our history, returning to what is essential, the very opposite of showy gift boxes. We’re proposing a luxury of tomorrow that is both aware and engaged, while remaining exquisitely aesthetic, elegant and contemporary.”A U-turn like this will spur changes in certain habits too. Because the case is resistant to humidity it can be placed in an ice bucket for several hours and remain intact. This means it is not designed to be removed when the champagne is served, introducing a new and even more prestigious serving ritual. Most importantly, the taste of Ruinart cuve?es are not affected in the least.
The design and development team at COLOURFORM have been integral to creating a case with a level of quality that set a new standard of eco-packaging excellence. James Cropper along with Pusterla 1880 reworked the initial design several times. One of the key contributions to the case was the addition of a 100% paper snap closure on the side, a considerable technical feat.
The second skin’s look and feel were also the work of James Cropper COLOURFORM. Marie Lipnitzky recounts how the idea for the texture came about. “This look was actually inspired by a manufacturing flaw in one of the prototypes. We initially had a smooth surface in mind for the case, but there was a problem with the press, which creased the paper at one place. We thought that it really reminded us of the walls of our Craye?res in Reims, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site and an integral part of our own heritage. So we decided to replicate this look for the entire surface of the case. It also gives it a really silky touch that we instantly loved as well.”