A brief history of the Factories.
Beauty and perfection of the highest standards, Rosenthal signifies nothing more and nothing less. The name itself epitomizes contemporary design and art in both porcelain and glass, and more besides: Rosenthal stands for luxury, lifestyle and a special aestehetic feeling - for products without which sophisticated tabletop culture and contemporary interiors would not be the same.
A sense of tradition coupled with the avantgarde is the underlying principle behind the worldwide leading company. Experience gathered over 125 years of company history, the will to innovate and the strong cooperations with the best international designers, architects, artists, craftsmen and celebrities guarantee the success of this exclusive company philiosophy. The first Rosenthal company - a porcelain decorating business - was set up by Philipp Rosenthal (b1855-d1937) Erkersreuth near Selb, Bavaria in 1879.
In 1907 the company marks each product with its full name - the brand Rosenthal is born. Because Philipp Rosenthal was a Jew, he was forced by the Nazis in 1934 to leave the company, but the company continued to expand before, during and after World War II. Philip Rosenthal (son of Philipp) joined the company in 1950 and carried on in his father's footsteps. It has been said that the success of Rosenthal is based on the close attention paid by both father and son to marketing techniques, and the setting up of Studio Departments and Concession Shops in the post-war years paved the way for the Studio Line launched in 1961. Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus designed a new factory for the company in Amberg in the late 1960s. By the time of the centenary celebrations in 1979 Rosenthal employed around eight-and-a-half thousand people.
Art and Artists, The company's most important distinguishing feature has been its dedication to the appreciation of modern art and decoration, and the alliances it has made with top modern designers and artists. The tradition begun in the late 19th century has continued throughout the twentieth century. Rosenthal's moderne figurines produced in the 1920s and 1930s are some of the very best in porcelain designs from the Art Deco period. The successful mid-century dinnerware lines designed by industrial designer Raymond Loewy and another by Walter Gropius, a founder of the Bauhaus, led the way to the modern era of designer and artist porcelains that reads like a "Who's Who". Modern designers employed by Rosenthal since WW2 include Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Emilio Pucci, Bjorn Wiinblad, Piero Fornasetti and Gianni Versace. Artists include Victor Vasarely, Salvador Dali, Roy Lichtenstein and Frank Stella.
Founded in 1880 by the merger of two existing German companies, the WÜRTTEMBERGISCHE METALLWARENFABRIK was, around 1900, the world's largest producer and exporter of household metalware, mainly in the Jugendstil style. WMF has forged its reputation as a manufacturer of products, the design, quality and utility of which set the company apart from its competitors.
WMF manufactures an extensive range of products, with the main emphasis on kitchen and tableware items for both private and commercial use. From as far back as the 1920s to the present day, WMF's product development department has collaborated with renowned designers at home and abroad at its own design studios. WMF AG has currently over 3.700 employees. Widely known by its initials, WMF, the company preferred to create its own designs and so the main proportion of the beautyful creations in Art Nouveau style are from their own Art studio.
Wilhelm Wagenfeld (1900-1990) was a designer at WMF and his designs were popular for several years. A German architect and industrial designer. A graduate of the Bauhaus design school in Weimar, Germany, Wagenfeld went on to become one of the country´s leading proponents of the machine style (a geometric, undecorated style deemed appropriate for industrial products) in the areas of metal and glass goods. His simple designs that strikingly combined aesthetic aspects with practical considerations made Wilhelm Wagenfeld a pioneer of industrial design.
Major clients were the Jenaer Glassworks 193034, for which he designed a tea diffuser 1932; the Lausitzer Glassworks 193538, where he designed his ´Cube´ dishes 1938; and from 1954 the Württembergische Metallwarenfabrik (WMF).
Wedgwood Glass and later (from the mid 70s) Wedgwood Crystal, were the names used for the output of King's Lynn glassworks in the UK after it was taken over by the Wedgwood Group in 1969. Ronald Stennett-Willson, one of the most prominent UK post-war glass designers, had established King's Lynn Glass in 1967, and continued as Managing Director and chief designer of Wedgwood Glass until he reached retirement age in 1980.
He had been closely involved with the Swedish glass industry during the 1950s, and his designs at King's Lynn had the clean functional lines associated with post-war Scandinavian design. More than half of the staff employed when the company first opened, were skilled glass blowers from Sweden and other parts of Europe. Part of their job was to train local people in glass industry skills. When Wedgwood became the dominant shareholder in Dartington Glass in 1982, the late Frank Thrower from Dartington Glass also contributed designs to the Wedgwood Crystal range.
He had previously worked with Ronald Stennett-Willson for the UK importer of Orrefors Glass (Sweden) and amongst his designs for Wedgwood was the very heavy hexagonal or octagonal "Brutus" series of vases and bowls. Following a long Wedgwood tradition, the glass made by Wedgwood is normally marked with a permanent mark. The mark is sometimes very hard to find. Kings Lynn Glass was usually marked with paper labels which have sometimes been lost. Wedgwood became part of Waterford-Wedgwood plc in 1986 and this merged company continues to play a major role in the glass industry, but not as Wedgwood Glass. The Wedgwood Glass operation was closed in 1988 and rumour has it that all the pattern books were destroyed at that time.
"Finnish Glassware 20th century modern glass design can be summed up in one word - iittala. Although each piece of iittala crystal strongly reflects the personal creativity of its designer - fine minimalist form, practicality, and outstanding quality are the hallmarks of each iittala crystal. Iittala's design language has its roots in a cultural heritage of the scantness of days gone by, and in the impact of nature and changing seasons. As the 20th century draws to a close iittalaproducts increasingly represent timelessness, while inimitably reflecting the decade in which they were created. These great products have stood the test of time and weathered the changing trends."
Dansk Design, Denmark More than 50 years ago, New York entrepreneur/engineer Ted Nierenberg and his wife, Martha, traveled to Denmark. At Copenhagen's Kunsthandvaerker Museum they saw a hand-forged fork, knife, and spoon with teakwood handles that had won a design competition for Jens Quistgaard. The design combined two natural materials in a graceful manner a simple concept today, but a revolutionary one for the '50s. Quistgaard told the Nierenbergs that his hand-crafted designs were too difficult to manufacture. Ted Nierenberg, however, convinced Quistgaard that they had to try. The pattern was Fjord. The company was Dansk. "Tabletop" had been redefined by marrying a casual design aesthetic with true functionality, the Dansk brand became synonymous with modern living.
Dansk's first logo was designed and hand-drawn by Jens H. Quistgaard in 1954. He also designed Dansk's very first products and hundreds more over the years. Dansk continued to grow, on the premise that every object needed for the top of the table could be beautiful as well as useful. Dansk was the only company to design and market a fully coordinated tableware product line. The Dansk approach became a lifestyle choice.
Many of Quistgaard's Dansk designs became part of the permanent collections of the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Smithsonian Institution.
To read more about Dansk, go to http://www.dansk.com/info for more information.
Cast iron candle holders: very