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Part of a packaging design for Champagne Pol Roger, with sketches of Winston Churchill and Odette Pol-Roger holding champagne flutes, surrounded by colourful brushstrokes.

BA (Hons) Textiles student’s sustainable champagne packaging wins Artsthread prize


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An Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) student has won the Pentland Churchill Champagne Pol Roger Conscious Case competition, delivered in partnership in Artsthread.

Phoebe John, who studies BA (Hons) Textiles at AUB, was among the emerging creatives challenged to create sustainable gift packaging for the Pol Roger Brut Vintage Champagne product.

“I felt absolutely amazing, and completely blown away that they chose my design,” she explains. “It was such a validation of all the hard work and creativity I poured into it.”

The 2024 competition was held to mark the 175th anniversary of Champagne Pol Roger, as well as 150 years since the birth of Winston Churchill.

Phoebe says that the special relationship between Churchill and Odette Pol-Roger (wife of the then-owner of Champagne Pol Roger) was a key inspiration for her design.

“Churchill was Pol Roger's most illustrious devotee and customer. His relationship with the Pol-Roger family dates back to 1945, although he had been a loyal customer as far back as 1908. At a luncheon in Paris, given by the British Ambassador to France two months after the end of the war, Churchill met the charming and captivating Odette Pol-Roger and so began a friendship which lasted until Sir Winston's death in 1965.

“Pol Roger was not just any champagne to Churchill – it was a drink that embodied the style and spirit with which he lived by – robust, mature and long-lived.

“I aimed to create a design that not only captured the essence of my inspiration but also addressed the practical elements of the brief. The vibrant strokes, reminiscent of paintbrushes, reflect the depth and intensity of his creative spirit, resonating with the barbecues drawn from his captivating masterpieces such as ‘Seascape with Rain Clouds’ and ‘Daybreak at Cassis’. These carefully chosen shades not only capture the essence of nature, but also reflect Churchill's steadfast admiration for the surrounding beauty.”

The key focus of the brief was sustainability. Phoebe explains some of the sustainable elements to her packaging and what issues they attempt to resolve:

“By integrating recycled cardboard as the foundation of the packaging, it not only minimises waste, but also rejuvenates materials that would otherwise be destined for landfill. The utilisation of recycled cardboard supports the circular economy and also preserves valuable resources.

“Furthermore, I have chosen to incorporate vegetable inks into the design. Unlike traditional inks derived from petroleum, vegetable inks are sourced from renewable materials like soy or linseed oil. Not only do these inks produce vibrant and captivating colours that bring the design to life, but they also contain lower levels of harmful chemicals.”

Off the back of the competition, Phoebe has won a graduate internship at Pentland’s head office in London, in addition to a £1,000 cash prize and a tour of the Pol Roger Maison and vineyards.

This is one of two successes for Phoebe this week, as she’s also won a competition by Sbri, a local leather accessory company. The brief: to create striking and contemporary digital prints for UV printing onto leather accessories, considering current and future trends that Sbri’s customers would find appealing.

This was a collaborative project, and Phoebe’s team created designs on a theme of Summer Beach Escapes – Hengistbury Head/Coastal Print.

“My design featured illustrative beach essentials,” Phoebe explains. “To keep the busy pattern print cohesive, I opted for a single-colour shade.”

Phoebe’s design will be printed and produced by Sbri this summer.

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