When André Ruinart commissioned the great Czech artist Alphonse Mucha to design Ruinart’s first advertisement in 1896, the worlds of champagne and art became intertwined. The choice reflected bold innovation, and since the poster’s success from the Morris columns in Paris to the summit of the Mont Blanc, the fine luxury champagne became synonymous with the arts. For the last few centuries, the maison’s links to contemporary art have only deepened through its Carte Blanche projects, Prix Maison Ruinart prize and unmissable presence at the most prestigious global art fairs.
It is in this context that the relationship between Ruinart and its chosen artists unfolds today. The nearly 300-year-old French champagne house, whose bubbly elixirs are symbols of exquisite luxury, consciously handpicks artists whose work intersects with its values. With terroir and ancestral savoir faire counted as the cornerstone of Ruinart’s exceptional success, one such value is the maison’s unwavering commitment to natural preservation in the wake of global environmental challenges.
Ruinart’s arts and culture director Fabien Vallerian notes that this promise is honoured at every stage of the maison’s craftsmanship process—from production to portage of its cuvées. “We have stopped shipping bottles by plane, only by boat,” he shares, emphasising that Ruinart’s stance on sustainability has remained unwavering in the eight years since it has started this initiative.
Three years ago, Ruinart broke with the tradition of individual gift boxes, revolutionising its packaging with an entirely recyclable cloak composed of 100 percent natural wood fibers—reducing waste while maintaining design excellence and a unique sense of luxury.
“People will only protect the world when they are educated on the fragility of nature”
Rooted in the belief that art patronage can invigorate environmental advocacy, the champagne house also strives to influence positive change by partnering with artists on a global scale. ‘‘People will only protect the world when they are educated on the fragility of nature. Ruinart selects artists who aim to convey the world’s environmental concerns to the masses,” Vallerian shares.
One such impressive instance is Lausanne-based photographer Matthieu Gafsou, the winner of the 2022 Prix Maison Ruinart award. Within the works in his series titled Cette Constante Brûlure De l’air (This Constant Burning in the Air), you’ll find idyllic landscapes inspired by his residency in the Champagne region during the summer heatwave of 2022.
One piece spotlights the result of global warming on a beach that formerly held water, a thousand years past. In an effort to visually translate the effect of oil on nature, Gafsou applied a crude oil treatment to his images to capture a palpable sense of contamination through pigment and stains.
“Climate change has been the focus of my work for several years now. I wanted to find a visual way to capture the contamination that is affecting the world around us,” Gafsou explains. “Ruinart gave me complete freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. Having unrestricted reign to create allowed me to really get my message about environmental protection across.”
Vallerian echoes this sentiment: “It’s important to us that we give the artists we partner with complete freedom because artists bring new DNA to the brand, which is essential for the future. As the oldest champagne house in the world, we need to keep evolving. That’s what our vision is,” he says.
This past month, nine of Gafsou’s photos debuted in Southeast Asia at the Ruinart Art Lounge during ART SG 2024, presenting his commissioned work to the Singaporean audience for the first time. As ART SG’s official champagne partner, Ruinart’s presence at the art fair for the second consecutive year stood out.
Moët Hennessy Diageo Singapore’s managing director Patrick Madendjian notes that ART SG’s first edition in 2023 marked the first occasion when Ruinart had partnered with an art fair for its inaugural event. “With over 20 years of partnerships with major art fairs globally, the maison has a strong conviction regarding ART SG’s extensive reach throughout Southeast Asia,” he says.
“ART SG launched as Southeast Asia’s biggest international art fair with an impressive magnitude, and I can only see this relationship growing over time. Our priority is that the partnership remain organic, genuine and continue to bring across our message of natural preservation to a wider audience.”
Discover Ruinart’s commitment to sustainability here.