Dutchman Piet Hein Eek loves wood. Not the traditional wood used by carpenters or the solid wood used by sculptors, but wood already rich in history; the wood we tend to disregard, overlooking its natural beauty.
For more than twenty years he has designed contemporary marquetry in this wood which has taken on a patina over time. In this marquetry, the material’s past takes on a modern dreamlike feel.
How Piet Hein Eek sees the history of Maison Ruinart is also shown by the production of a monumental work of art, halfway between a sculpture and a piece of architecture.
On 21 March 1769 the first Maison Ruinart account ledger records an unsurpassed dispatch: the shipment of its precious champagne to Elsinore in Denmark in wooden cases.
This approach was very unusual. Suddenly the very value of the product was influencing its shipment. These hard wooden shells would protect it from the hazards of transport while consolidating the quality of the commercial relationships between the House in Champagne and its clients.
The use of this type of case did not become widespread in the other champagne houses until the 1830s.
When his path crossed that of Maison Ruinart, then collaboration became the watchword: each admits to the same vision of its work, driven by a respect for nature and the time required for creation. Within this meeting of minds, Piet Hein Eek has chosen to tell the tale of Ruinart’s beginnings using his own vocabulary.
The response to the 1769 wooden case is an individual case adapted to each champagne bottle. The very characteristic shape of these bottles, inspired him to produce a trapezoid box, the geometry of which follows the bottle with a series of minimal tangents. Of course, the box is designed in the same recycled wood that Piet Hein Eek uses when he creates his own furniture.
This pine, patiently collected by the artist, has been selected for its shades of pale grey, white and cream which remind him of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. Individually signed and numbered, each presentation box of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is thus unique and handmade in Piet Hein Eek’s workshops in Geldrop, close to Eindhoven.