Is the Future of Design to Make It Disappear?

The bar has officially been raised on our sustainable design standards thanks to our long-time partner and environmental champions, Ridge Vineyards. In an ongoing commitment to reducing their carbon footprint, Ridge challenged us with developing a more sustainable option for their packaged products, historically delivered in wooden boxes.

“In order to reduce our carbon footprint and lessen our impact on the environment, we have been carefully reviewing all of our packaging. Our new Monte Bello box is lighter in weight, fully recyclable, and easier to work with than the wooden box it replaces.” — Mark Vernon, Ridge Vineyards CEO

While branded wooden wine boxes are beloved by wine collectors, they are heavier to ship using more fuel which leads to higher emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to air pollution and climate change.  

With the health of the environment at the helm of Ridge’s decision-making, they chose to trade in tradition for transparency. After months of research and intentional design, we arrived at a three-bottle box made from 100% recycled paper, water-based ink, and green cell foam packing material that dissolves in water, quite literally disappearing. Now, that’s real transparency.

To develop this concept, we worked in partnership with Packaging Arts to source material options, test durability, and develop a package design that would maintain Ridge’s premium brand experience. The foam insert is made of Green Cell protective foam, an innovative natural packing material from KTM Industries, made from corn, that dissolves in water. The Green Cell protective foam provides the same level of protection as traditional petroleum-based foam with far less negative impact on the environment. 

“The material is certified compostable and bio-based, but the real beauty of it is that it dissolves in water. You can put it in your sink and wash it down the drain—and it’s gone. We’ve worked with several municipalities to verify that it does not pose any environmental or pollution threat to the water supply, and we’ve tested it as being safe for pipes, septic systems and water systems. When it comes to disposal, there’s just not a more convenient material out there.”  – Tim Colonnese, KTM Industries

Annual Reduced Environmental Impact:

With this switch, Ridge will save:

  • 10,000 wooden boxes
  • 50,000 pounds of total weight from being shipped around the world


Photos by Sara Sanger