VEUVE FOR LIFE

ADAM GOODRUM IS THE FIRST AUS­TRALIAN TO COL­LAB­O­RATE WITH VEUVE CLIC­QUOT, IN A TRIB­UTE TO THE WOMAN WHO TRANS­FORMED CHAM­PAGNE AND THE CHAM­PAGNE BUSI­NESS

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Contents - STORY MITCHELL OAK­LEY SMITH

Aus­tralian de­signer Adam Goodrum hon­ours the cre­ative spirit of the Widow Cliquot

Acolour says a lot about a brand. Any woman who has ever con­sid­ered mar­riage knows what the lit­tle blue box means, while shop­pers with dis­cern­ing taste like presents that come pack­aged in a par­tic­u­lar shade of or­ange. Like Tif­fany & Co. and Her­mes, cham­pagne house Veuve Clic­quot is known for the vivid streak of yel­low that wraps around its bot­tles, and at events and venues around the world, from Bondi Ice­bergs to the an­nual polo in New York, whether in um­brel­las or ice buck­ets or fes­tive flutes, that shade of yel­low sig­nals a good time wait­ing to be had.

When the brand com­mis­sioned in­dus­trial de­signer Adam Goodrum to cre­ate a lim­ited edi­tion stool, the colour was non-ne­go­tiable. “It was a pretty open brief as far as these types of projects go, and [Veuve Clic­quot] was re­ally only spe­cific about where the logo would go and the colour,” Goodrum says. He is just back from vis­it­ing the house’s his­toric cel­lars in Reims, in France’s Cham­pagne re­gion, and Mi­lan, where Veuve un­veiled a num­ber of other de­sign projects as part of Salone del Mo­bile. “I like to find cre­ative so­lu­tions to the briefs I’m given. I like my stu­dio to be known for that kind of thing,” Goodrum says.

The de­signer was first in­tro­duced to Veuve Clic­quot in 2014 as a judge of the Aus­tralian fi­nal of its Re-cre­ation Awards, which in­vited de­sign­ers to sub­mit a treat­ment for a ver­sion of the clas­sic Amer­i­can tin mail­box. A plat­form to show­case in­no­va­tive de­sign from emerg­ing artists the world over, the con­test had a high pro­file, trans­port­ing 18 fi­nal­ists to Ho­tel du Marc, Veuve’s chateau in Reims, with the win­ning de­sign — this year by Cana­dian Eileen Ugarkovic — re­pro­duced and sold glob­ally.

“Veuve Clic­quot men­tioned at the time that they wanted to work on a pro­ject but we didn’t know what form it would take,” says Goodrum. “It has been an evolv­ing dis­cus­sion.” He was inspired, he says, by Madame Barbe-Ni­cole Clic­quot Pon­sardin, an heir to the cham­pagne house and the widow in the brand name. Not only did she trans­form the house into a global busi­ness; in 1816 she rev­o­lu­tionised its man­u­fac­tur­ing process with the in­ven­tion of the rid­dling rack, in which bot­tles are placed neck-down on an an­gle so that the sed­i­ment, which would cloud and taint the cham­pagne, can fall into the neck, then be frozen into a plug and ex­tracted through the open­ing. “I re­ally liked that her rid­dling ta­ble had a thought process be­hind it,” he says. From a flat ta­ble with holes in the sur­face, its de­sign evolved into an A-frame to max­imise its us­age, re­duc­ing its foot­print and al­low­ing eas­ier re­moval of the sed­i­ment.

In re­sponse, Goodrum set out to cre­ate a piece that was not only func­tional but had a sense of in­ven­tion to it. The re­sult is the Rid­dling Stool, a seat that can hold a bot­tle of cham­pagne (at a rid­dling an­gle) and then fold

out to hang flat on a wall hook. The laser-cut alu­minum is pow­der-coated in the house’s sig­na­ture yel­low. “I was mind­ful that if it’s go­ing to be used in a res­tau­rant or bar then it needs to have a sec­ond func­tion on the wall, and so the logo is in­ten­tion­ally placed in a po­si­tion that makes it vis­i­ble when it’s ly­ing flat, al­most like a wall sculp­ture.”

While the de­sign ad­dresses the func­tional and aes­thetic needs of Veuve Clic­quot, it fits com­fort­ably within Goodrum’s de­sign prac­tice, which demon­strates a con­tin­u­ing in­ter­est in the sim­ple ma­nip­u­la­tion of form. “When I was at univer­sity I lived in my work­shop, with the kitchen ta­ble my workspace. There I be­gan this love of play­ing with card­board and pa­per and the way I could fold it to cre­ate these dif­fer­ent forms, and I’ve cre­ated a num­ber of pieces [in my ca­reer] where that lan­guage is still at play,” he says, cit­ing the in­flu­ence of Alexan­der Calder, the Amer­i­can orig­i­na­tor of the hang­ing sculp­ture or mo­bile. “I ap­pre­ci­ate sim­ple ge­om­e­try and ar­tic­u­la­tion, but also that the brand is fun. I mean, they’ve got a yel­low Bent­ley zoom­ing around Reims,” he adds.

Goodrum’s pro­file has risen to the point that he is now re­spected as one of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing in­dus­trial de­sign­ers. In the past decade, his de­signs have been pro­duced by fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­tur­ers in­clud­ing Cap­pellini, Nor­mann Copenhagen and Cult, with sev­eral of his pieces un­der the ban­ner of Broached Com­mis­sions form­ing part of the eclec­tic and tex­tu­ral in­te­ri­ors of Can­berra’s award-win­ning Ho­tel Ho­tel. Ju­lian Ceder, Veuve Clic­quot’s head of de­sign, says Goodrum was a sim­ple choice for the brand’s first col­lab­o­ra­tion with an Aus­tralian de­signer. “Adam’s Rid­dling Stool is a stun­ning piece of de­sign, very mod­ern but with a clear prove­nance,” he says.

It’s not the first time that Veuve Clic­quot has en­gaged with the de­sign world. In the spirit of the en­tre­pre­neur­ial and much-revered Widow, it has em­braced the de­sign world as part of its own, col­lab­o­rat­ing with in­dus­trial de­sign­ers on the cre­ation of ev­ery­thing from mer­chan­dise and bar equip­ment to large-scale ar­chi­tec­tural pavil­ions em­blem­atic of the brand’s mo­tifs, such as the shape of its bot­tle or the me­teor comet that forms part of its logo. It was Madame Clic­quot, af­ter all, who said: “In­vent the things of to­mor­row ... go be­fore oth­ers. Act with au­dac­ity.”

To walk through Ho­tel du Marc is to tick off a roll­call of the lead­ing names in de­sign: Tom Dixon, the Cam­pana broth­ers Hum­berto and Fer­nando, Mathieu Le­han­neur, Pablo Reinoso and Front De­sign among them. Porsche De­sign Stu­dio has cre­ated a fridge ti­tled Ver­ti­cal Limit that houses and chills some of the brand’s most pre­cious wines, with steel cav­i­ties that open in a criss­cross­ing mo­tion to re­veal the mag­num bot­tles within. Else­where, a gilded writ­ing desk — a nod to Madame Clic­quot’s reg­u­lar busi­ness du­ties — is punc­tured with a vivid yel­low hole in which sits a cham­pagne bucket, one of sev­eral pieces de­signed by Ital­ian de­signer Fer­ruc­cio La­viani.

Un­der the um­brella of LVMH, the lux­ury con­glom­er­ate that owns, among its many brands, Louis Vuit­ton, Moët & Chan­don and Givenchy, each liquor house has its own cul­tural and phil­an­thropic fo­cus. Where Veuve Clic­quot looks to de­sign to in­fuse its brand cul­ture with a sense of con­tem­po­rary vi­tal­ity, its fel­low French cham­pagne house Ruinart is a vis­ual arts pa­tron, spon­sor­ing art events such as Syd­ney Con­tem­po­rary and the Mel­bourne Art Fair, and col­lab­o­rat­ing with con­tem­po­rary artists such as Ge­or­gia Rus­sell last year and Hu­bert Le Gall this year (as fea­tured in WISH in May). Pol­ish vodka brand Belvedere,

“THE BRAND IS FUN. I MEAN, THEY’VE GOT A YEL­LOW BENT­LEY ZOOM­ING AROUND REIMS”

mean­while, is known for its as­so­ci­a­tion with star-stud­ded events like the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

Although she is of­ten cred­ited as such, Madame Clic­quot was not the founder of the cham­pagne house. Rather, upon the death of her hus­band, Fran­cois Clic­quot, the son of the house’s founder, Philippe Clic­quot-Mu­iron, the young widow took con­trol of the house and, through her de­vel­op­ments to its pro­duc­tion, as with the rid­dling sys­tem, greatly ex­panded the global reach of the la­bel, which be­came pop­u­lar with royal courts through­out the world. Leg­end has it that de­spite the block­ade of Im­pe­rial Rus­sia in the early 19th cen­tury, such was the thirst for Veuve Clic­quot’s fa­mous cham­pagne that it was shipped notwith­stand­ing. It is here that Prus­sian guards are said to have in­vented the flashy tech­nique of “sabring” bot­tles open with their swords.

That a woman should lead such eco­nomic growth of a com­pany in this time is re­mark­able. As Jean Mar­cGal­lot, the house’s cur­rent chief ex­ec­u­tive, notes: “She was a woman in France at a time when our coun­try was dom­i­nated by men, and she was per­haps the very first in­ter­na­tional en­tre­pre­neur.” It’s a de­tail the house is proud of and an­nu­ally cel­e­brates with its Busi­ness Woman Awards, hon­our­ing the suc­cess of fe­male lead­ers. These have to date in­cluded Aus­tralian fash­ion de­sign­ers Sarah Jane Clarke and Heidi Mid­dle­ton, for­merly of Sass & Bide, T2 founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive Maryanne Shearer, and Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art di­rec­tor El­iz­a­beth Ann Macgre­gor, all of whom have trav­elled to Reims to add their name to the his­toric string of past win­ners that adorns the house’s vine­yards, and to celebrate at Ho­tel du Marc.

When the next win­ner vis­its that chateau, they’ll find Goodrum’s Rid­dling Stool, where it will sit along­side pieces by these for­mer Veuve Clic­quot col­lab­o­ra­tors. At once a shrine to its history and a bea­con of its for­ward­fac­ing spirit, the pri­vate 19th-cen­tury chateau has sur­vived two world wars. LVMH ac­quired the Veuve Clic­quot busi­ness in 1986, and in 2007 com­mis­sioned a ren­o­va­tion of the house, which had fallen into dis­re­pair, with French ar­chi­tect Bruno Moinard in charge. To­day, it blends the old with the new: the plas­ter­work of the high ceil­ings re­mains, but is ren­dered in char­coal grey and black; the cen­tral stair­case forms an im­pos­ing en­try, but its car­pet runs the colour spec­trum from deep bur­gundy on the ground floor to creamy white on the up­per, re­flect­ing the wines that make up a rosé cham­pagne; and a vintage por­trait of Madame Clic­quot is cov­ered in vivid red dots, a be­spoke com­mis­sion by Ja­panese artist (and Louis Vuit­ton col­lab­o­ra­tor) Yayoi Kusama. Ho­tel du Marc is, in essence, the Veuve Clic­quot world — its history, its cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tors — en­cap­su­lated.

For CEO Gal­lot, en­gag­ing with the de­sign world isn’t a rad­i­cal ges­ture but sim­ply stay­ing true to the spirit of Madame Clic­quot. “She in­vented many things which we still use to­day,” he ex­plained at the house’s event in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the de­sign mag­a­zine Wall­pa­per at Salone del Mo­bile, with whom it had part­nered to present an ex­hi­bi­tion of hand­made ob­jects inspired by food, and to an­nounce Ugarkovic as the win­ner of the Re-cre­ation Award. “Even here, the win­ner is Cana­dian but could have been from any­where in the world — Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, South Amer­ica — be­cause we have long been a global com­pany. It’s im­por­tant to be con­sis­tent with your orig­i­nal vi­sion. Be­ing in­ter­na­tional to­day is ob­vi­ous for a brand, but 240 years ago it was not. Madame Clic­quot was a true in­no­va­tor and that’s what we like to be to­day.”

EN­GAG­ING WITH THE DE­SIGN WORLD ISN’T A RAD­I­CAL GES­TURE BUT SIM­PLY STAY­ING TRUE TO THE SPIRIT OF MADAME CLIC­QUOT

Adam Goodrum’s de­sign for the Rid­dling Stool, in flat­tened form above and as a seat be­low left, is a re­sponse to the in­no­va­tion by Madame Clic­quot that gave sparkling wine its clar­ity Ae­sop chief ex­ec­u­tive Michael O’Keefe says botan­i­cal-based cos­met­ics have moved from the

hip­pie fringe to the main­stream

Bot­tles of Cliquot cham­pagne Bot­t­lessitin­sitrid­dling­in­rid­dlin­grack­sracksin the in the­un­der­ground­mai­son’sun­der­ground­cel­lars at Reims, cel­larsnorth­east­er­natReims,FranceCham­pagne

The house’s sig­na­ture yel­low is ev­ery­where at Veuve Clic­quot’s Reims chateau, the Ho­tel du Marc

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