Reimagining traditional design at the Ambiente trade fair: Part two

  • In association with Messe Reps & Travel
  • March 7, 2016
  • Sarah Dunn
Reimagining traditional design at the Ambiente trade fair: Part two

Meissen is a porcelain-maker based near Dresden in Germany. Founded in 1710, it was the first porcelain manufactory developed in Europe. Its director tabletop and hotel services, Achim Bornhäußer, estimates 85 percent of the designs from Meissen's 300-year history are still in production: “Discontinued is not in our vocabulary.”

One line given prominence at Ambiente was a table setting featuring a delicate pumpkin-flower pattern. This pattern was first given expression in the form of a Chinese-style vase dating from 1920, but the design was subtly updated for its second outing. Bornhäußer, highlighted the table setting as a respectful way to deal with heritage.

“We have a duty to deal with it in our own way because it's so valuable,” he says. “Don't just copy, make it better.”

Nearly as old as Meissen is Danish company Royal Copenhagen, which is famous around the world for its blue floral porcelain. In fact, its slogan is “A passion for blue since 1775”.

Key account manager Flemming Sorensen spoke frankly of how Royal Copenhagen has recently enacted a price drop to help it reach a bigger target market. At the same time, the company widened its assortment into unpainted white products, but then realised, “We are a hand-painting company,” so is now in the process of undoing this change of tack.

In 2008, Royal Copenhagen offered an assortment which was 70 percent bigger than it now has. The majority of discontinued lines consisted of figurines and vases. “We made lots of not very kind decisions, but [without them], we may not be here anymore,” Sorensen says.

He spoke of seeing many other heritage companies losing their traditions, and emphasised the importance of modernising without distancing Royal Copenhagen from its roots.

At just 172 years old, German company Kahla is a relative newcomer, but the family-owned firm has seen some turbulence during its time. The porcelain-maker is located in what was for a short time East Germany, and in 2014 celebrated 20 years since it was re-established following German reunification.

The international crowd at Ambiente's design tour were amused at the cross-significance of the word “Kahla” - in Arabic, it translates to “black”, while in Finnish, it means “fish”. The company is in fact named for the region in which it was founded, which is near Thuringia.

Designer Barbara Schmidt is now drawing on Japanese influences for her porcelain designs. The 'O' set she exhibited at Ambiente is inspired by origami – each piece bears a “pleat” or fold. O incorporates material advances as well as new design, with a layer of bonded silicon on the bottom of the cups helping it sit steadily on any surface.

For Schmidt, it's impossible to choose between the importance of a piece's identity or its function. Both must work together – and that remains as true for heritage companies as it is for the objects they make.

Sarah Dunn travelled to Ambiente courtesy of Messe Reps & Travel. A full article on Ambiente will be forthcoming in the April / May issue of NZRetail magazine.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register team
Military-style semi-automatics ban announced

As of 3pm on March 21, a wide range of semi-automatic weapons have been reclassified under section 74A(c) of the Arms Act as requiring an E endorsement on a firearms license. This means they can no longer be sold to those with A-category gun licenses, and their purchase now requires police approval.

Read more

Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • The Register
Retailers gather for insights at NZ Retail and The Register's breakfast

NZ Retail and The Register’s sales and marketing breakfast saw dozens of Kiwi retailers come together to network, sharing tips and tricks and absorbing expert advice.

Read more

Who stole Christmas?

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Kelly Withers
Who stole Christmas?

Results are starting to trickle in from Christmas 2018/2019, and for many retailers, they're a little disappointing. Paydar chief executive and co-founder Kelly Withers explores the data.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

  • News
  • March 21, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Chinese businesspeople raise millions for Christchurch victims

A group of visiting Chinese businesspeople have raised $2.35 million for victims of the Christchurch mass shooting.

Read more

The Retail NZ Awards: What does it take to be a winning retailer?

Take this time to shine with the upcoming Retail NZ awards, a chance to show the retail industry what makes your business stand out. No ...


Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

  • News
  • March 20, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Hunting & Fishing New Zealand voluntarily pulls military-style assault weapons from sale

In the wake of the attack on Christchurch’s Muslim community on March 15, strong calls for changes to New Zealand’s gun last have been made. Trade Me was the first retailer to act, halting the sale of all semi-automatic weapons on its platform, and it has now been joined by Hunting & Fishing New Zealand.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit