We talk to Ramdane Touhami, the French creative behind Volzhenka’s arresting new visual identity. Taking inspiration from Volzhenka’s rich roots in Russian caviar – and its humane approach to sturgeon farming – Touhami has conjured a series of captivating silver-topped glass caviar containers. Here, he shares his inspirations for the collaboration – from Volzhenka’s long history on the Volga River to its feminine identity.
When Ramdane Touhami was invited to work with Volzhenka on the creation of their new visual identity, the French designer, entrepreneur and publisher was immediately intrigued. “I was curious about the caviar traditions of Astrakhan,” he says. “This Russian city remains the capital of caviar – the Russian black gold.” It’s a project that took Touhami on a fascinating journey into the past – to explore the prehistoric sturgeon fish that have lived in the Volga River for millennia. It was only after embarking on this deep historical research into caviar production, and the realisation that these incredible creatures have been in decline since the 1990’s, that Touhami began to understand the importance of the Volzhenka mission to protect the precious source of caviar.
“Caviar is an intrinsic and vital part of Russian culture,” says Touhami, who previously revived the apothecary-style French beauty brand, Buly. It’s the cultural importance of caviar that posed the greatest challenge for Touhami: How to design a caviar container that’s both innovative and yet suggestive of the delicacy’s rich Russian history? “I didn’t want the packaging to look too modern, or trendy,” he says. “But I wanted to pay homage to its magic.” His response? Rather than presenting Volzhenka caviar in tin containers as is the norm, Touhami opted for a frosted glass pot that’s cleverly suggestive of the most rare and luxurious elixir. “The packaging had to evoke the idea of freshness,” says Touhami of the engraved pots, which borrow from the elaborate style of the 19th century French glassmaker, Lalique.
I didn’t want the packaging to look too modern, or trendy. I wanted to pay homage to its magic
A material that’s light, elegant and pure, Volzhenka’s refined glass vessels connect to the watery, ethereal quality of caviar–and its more mystical roots. Touhami compares its new silver lid to a halo. “Volzhenka is an old slavic word meaning ‘a young woman living on the Volga River’,” he explains. “It’s a word with a feminine energy.” For Volzhenka’s new logo meanwhile Touhami conjured a powerful image of two sturgeon intertwined. A vision of strength and integrity, their forms conjure a medallion or medal. “The idea was to reflect the artisanal excellence of the caviar, which uses centuries old techniques, and the decades of passion that goes into this family brand,” he says. In fact, if it weren’t for Volzhenka’s humane approach as a leader in pioneering kinder caviar farming techniques, this creative collaboration wouldn’t have happened at all. “I’m a vegan,” says Touhami. “But I’m proud to work with this innovative caviar brand who produce world-class, cruelty-free caviar.”
Russian Oscietra V20 is defined by its rich and enduring flavour, with subtle overtones of hazelnut.
The Russian Oscietra V20 sturgeon eggs measure 3mm in diameter and are recognised by their distinctive golden tones. It takes up to twenty years for Russian Oscietra V20 sturgeon to reach maturity, and they’re only harvested in the coldest months of the year.
Did you know?
Oscietra sturgeon have been beloved since the times of the Romans and the Ancient Greek
Russian Oscietra caviar is renowned for its complex taste and somewhat nutty flavour.
Prepared according to a centuries-old Astrakhan salting recipe, the Russian Oscietra sturgeon takes up to 15 years to harvest. Its velvety eggs range from shades of amber to darkest mahogany – hence its nickname as the ‘Gold Standard ’of caviar.
Did you know?
Once they reach maturity, Russian Oscietra sturgeon can produce up to 2 million eggs at a time.
Siberian Sturgeon V15 is revered for its unique and aromatic flavour.
Rich in Omega-3, this is a sumptuous superfood of the highest order. The Siberian sturgeon V15 can reach up to 3 metres in size, and weigh in at up to 200kg. Its eggs measure in the region of 2.5mm and 2.9mm, and are distinguished by their silvery to brownish tones.
Did you know?
The most adaptable of all the sturgeon species, the Siberian is also the most prolific producer of caviar
Siberian Sturgeon are beloved for their versatility, mildness, and subtle touch of brininess.
Fresh and bright on the palate, these opalescent eggs have a wonderfully smooth texture. The Siberian sturgeon reaches maturity at the age of 8. Their delicate eggs measure in at between 2.2mm and 2.7mm in diameter.
Did you know?
Derived from the rivers and lakes of Siberia, this freshwater species grows to up to 2m in the wild.