NEW YORK — For Sumit Bhasin, global director of innovation in the P&G Prestige division at Procter & Gamble Co., there’s more to packaging design than manufacturing containers.

This story first appeared in the May 27, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“The thing I love about packaging is that it is an embodiment of a concept,” he said recently as he was being honored here at the Pratt Institute and Luxe Pack Art of Packaging Awards dinner.

“Art and science play an equal role. It’s getting that balance right.” As examples, he pointed to the Gucci Guilty packaging, which requires the difficult task of adhering metal to glass. Another example was the job of affixing a cloth alligator symbol on the Lacoste bottles.

His Renaissance viewpoint was highlighted by the fact that one of the award presenters was Gail Cardew, director of science at The Royal Institution of Great Britain in London, a prestigious center of scientific thought, with which Bhasin often collaborates.

The dinner, held at the University Club in Manhattan on May 17, raised $300,000 to fund scholarships for students of the packaging design program at Pratt. Marc Rosen, who heads the program and spearheads the dinner, generously praised Bhasin’s work and contrasted his commitment to excellence and innovation with some of the more unimaginative practices in the industry, which Rosen described as “the Listerine school of marketing.” He described that approach as using the same bottle and cap over and over again. All that changes, he added, is the color of the fragrance, like alternating the flavor of mouthwash.

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