Art in Transit – Sustainable and Secure Packaging

A conversation with ROKBOX CEO, Andrew Stramentov, gives us a deeper insight into his motivation to reimagine the future of art packaging.

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Art packaging has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Collectors, dealers and artists all have a role to play by in considering our vulnerable relationship with the planet, by tempering the way we buy and sell art, we can make a powerful difference. Calls for more sustainable and secure packaging inspired the CEO of ROKBOX to modernize it away from single-use materials. ROKBOX offers rigorously tested carbon neutral reusable crates that are considered amongst the safest and most sustainable alternatives.

You have been working in the art world for a long time. What inspired you to consider art packaging?

I was involved in exhibitions, biennales, art fairs, etc. around the world for many years and I noticed two things.

  1. Art packaging occasionally failed, and when it did, we lost irreplaceable artworks, which was expensive and miserable. Realizing absolutely no one puts their valuables in a wooden safe, using wooden crates for priceless artworks started to seem like a huge mistake.
  2. We left an enormous pile of rubbish wherever we went, over and over again. It annoyed me and so six years ago I decided to do something about it.

How did you go about tackling the established wooden crates currently in use for artwork transportation?

We used research, science, industrial engineers, laboratories, art technicians, artists, and environmental scientists. We benchmark tested our cases against the most sophisticated (and expensive) museum wooden cases in a range of real-world tests and beat them in every metric from physical protection to CO2 reduction. We had the results independently validated by academic third parties. The scientific proof speaks for itself.

How is ROKBOX more sustainable?

First, ROKBOX can be reused over and over again. Reuse has two advantages - economic and environmental - so now you can ship and store art cheaper, at zero waste and with much less CO2 than ever before. Second, as mentioned, ROKBOX outperforms wooden crates in the protection of art, so by using ROKBOX during transport your art is a whole lot safer. Thirdly, by using modern materials, we can reduce the CO2 in transport by 90% and cut out completely the 10 other toxic greenhouse gasses that are created at traditional packaging end of life. ROKBOX efficiently intercepts the "make-use-destroy" model that has been in use for so long and replaces it with "reduce, reuse, recycle."

Andrew Stramentov, CEO of ROKBOX
ROKBOX offers rigorously tested carbon neutral reusable crates that are considered amongst the safest and most sustainable alternatives.

Is the usage of ROKBOX more expensive?

No. We have products that are comparatively priced against cheap wooden equivalents, and they come with the added cost-saving benefit of being reusable many times. ROKBOX can also be rented from fine art shippers for less than single-use packaging.

What about the insurance. Would they accept a shipment with ROKBOX?

Insurance companies typically abide by the decisions made by specialist fine art shipping companies with respect to packaging, and ROKBOX are already being used by these shippers globally with no barriers from the insurance industry. There is plenty of evidence that ROKBOX are safer than traditional wooden crates, a fact that of course insurers are likely to embrace. Leading fine art insurers have been actively encouraging more sustainable practices in all subject industries, including the art world, for a long time, and are therefore interested in the far lower carbon footprint, zero waste nature of ROKBOX, and looking at ways to work proactively with us for these reasons."