Pernod Ricard’s Scalpel Salon honours Seven Days in Havana

Scalpel magazine is the creation of Pernod Ricard and Vadim Grigorian, the Paris-based drinks giant’s head of Creative Marketing. Scalpel retains its claim to be the world’s most exclusive periodical with a print run of just 650 gorgeous, stimulating books that have an original piece of art work signed and numbered by its creator.  Each of the issues (it is now in its third year) has had a diverse range of contributors and these people form the Scalpel community, from which a group of a dozen or so are selected each year to meet and award the Scalpel prize.

This year’s crew included The Fashionable Truth’s creator and Editor-in-Chief Daniel Jeffreys, Ross Urwin from Lane Crawford and an eclectic mix of designers and editors. We began by checking into the Brody House (see The Brody Bunch for more on this sensational hotel and club) from where we embarked on a private tour of the National Art Gallery, complete with a delightful dinner in the marble vestibule. The next day judging began in earnest.

The entrants are the best of Pernod Ricard’s creative collaborations over the previous year. Two front runners emerged – a collaboration between Absolut Vodka and  Los Carpinteros at Art Basel Miami that created a bar within a sculpture called Guïro and a movie titled Seven Days in Havana that was co-produced by Havana Gold and directed by Benicio del Toro and six other innovative directing talents.

The movie won but the fascinating part of the judging is how Pernod Ricard is willing to expose its creativity to the rigorous criticism of outsiders such as the Scalpel Salon, most of whom pull no punches when it comes to expressing a view. Other brands could benefit from exposing their creative collaborations in this way.

Its painful at times to hear cherished projects being trashed but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Vadim Grigorian and team will be in Hong Kong for Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 and he will be unveiling a new sculpture by that will also function as a meeting and party space for guests of the Absolut Art Foundation, which Vadim also runs.

For those who are not part of the Scalpel community this will be your chance to judge one of Pernod Ricard’s famous creative collaborations for yourself.