By  on June 6, 2008

Sustainability, fragrance bottle decor and heavy glass were among the biggest trends at an enlarged edition of Luxe Pack New York, the luxury packaging trade show held last month at Manhattan's Metropolitan Pavilion.

The event drew its largest crowd to date, some 2,009 attendees, an increase of 13 percent from last year. There were 113 exhibitors, up from 96 last year, and the event space grew as well — the show expanded to occupy the Altman Building next door. The event, which was Luxe Pack's sixth annual New York show, was held May 21 and 22.

"For two or three years now, more and more companies have wanted to exhibit at the show," said Nathalie Grosdidier, deputy managing director of Idice, which organizes Luxe Pack. "It was the right moment to open it to a number of exhibitors."

One of this year's new exhibitors was Curtis Packaging Corp., of Sandy Hook, Conn., which produces folding cartons for firms like Coty, Elizabeth Arden and the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

Donald R. Droppo Jr., senior vice president of sales and marketing for Curtis, claimed the firm is the first folding carton manufacturer to collectively be fully carbon neutral, use only renewable energy and be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that promotes responsible management of the world's forests.

Droppo said sales at Curtis have increased to $50 million from $20 million in the past five years as a result of the firm's focus on sustainability. "Our timing was right," he said, "because our customers were also trying to go as green as possible."

He said Curtis' customers are looking for boxes with a high percentage of post-consumer waste or those that are biodegradable or recyclable.

Flexpaq, which is part of French packaging group Ileos, highlighted a tester packette that's new to the U.S. called Stickpaqs. These 8-ml. packettes use less packaging material than typical 8-ml. packettes, according to Thomas Schade, key account manager for Flexpaq. "It addresses sustainability because it uses less source material," he said.

The topic of sustainability was also addressed during at least two of the show's seven seminars. A panel discussion moderated by packaging designer Marc Rosen called "Basta! Does Luxury Have to Mean Excess?" dealt with sustainability, as did another by author G. Clotaire Rapaille, called "Sustainability and Luxury Packaging."Meanwhile, when it came to glass production, heavy and decorated designs led the way.

Heinz Glas USA Inc. highlighted fragrance bottles that were sprayed with subtle colors and others that had a metallic finish. MBF Plastiques, which produces caps for fragrances, also said metallic finishes have been popular, as have transparent caps made of Surlyn, the resin produced by DuPont.

In addition to "lots of color, customers are really looking for heavy glass," said Shéhérazade Chamlou, vice president of marketing and global account executive for Saint-Gobain Desjonqueres, North America. She also pointed to sandblasted glass, a process that's used to give fragrance bottles translucent surfaces. Bottle manufacturer Pochet also spotlighted sprayed and sandblasted glass.

In contrast to colorfully decorated bottles, glassmaker Bormioli Luigi exhibited bottles with clean lines and plain faces. And, glass thickness varied, noted Corrado Lusetti, marketing director for Bormioli Luigi's container division.

"Apart from the external design," he said, "is the distribution of glass inside the bottle. We are putting different thicknesses of glass in different parts of the bottle. In some cases, there is a lot of glass at the base, around the [bottle's] shoulders and walls."

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