Porcelain manufacturer Rosenthal is enhancing its modern, avant-garde collections with sensuous furnishings.

Award-winner: "Format", 2011, by Christophe de la Fontaine.

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Award-winner: "Format", 2011, by Christophe de la Fontaine.

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When something has a rose in its name, it is destined to be associated with refined beauty. Perhaps Philipp Rosenthal knew that when he founded a porcelain-painting company in Selb back in 1879. But did he also realise that he was on the point of creating what was to become a global brand? A brand that would still be a highly influential creative force in the third millennium? That is just as sought-after in Shanghai as it is in Chicago or Paris?

Dynamic: Marketing Director Andreas Gerecke with vases from a special edition created to mark the 50th birthday of Rosenthal's studio-line in 2011.

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Dynamic: Marketing Director Andreas Gerecke with vases from a special edition created to mark the 50th birthday of Rosenthal's studio-line in 2011.

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If you had to choose a tableware series that epitomises Rosenthal today you'd be spoilt for choice: "Landscape" by design star Patricia Urquiola perhaps, or maybe "Nendoo" by Metz & Kindler or the multi-awarding "Format" series by Christophe de la Fontaine?

Bauhaus: "TAC", 1969, by Walter Gropius.

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Bauhaus: "TAC", 1969, by Walter Gropius.

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But despite its international sphere of activity, Rosenthal still produces its wares in the villages of Selb and Speichersdorf in Upper Franconia, where its 550 skilled employees grind, mix, mould, fire, dry, clean, glaze, spray, print and polish. It can take as many as 15 different production stages to produce a perfect plate. But the porcelain collection doesn't just consist of plates and cups. It ranges from flamboyant vases and beautifully designed gift items all the way to limited art editions, collectibles and sculptures from the Rosenthal archives.

Flamboyant: "Landscape" porcelain series, 2008, by Patricia Urquiola.

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Flamboyant: "Landscape" porcelain series, 2008, by Patricia Urquiola.

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The porcelain is either a captivatingly flawless white or decorated with designs in a complex screen-printing process. The premium patterns can consist of as many as 56 different colours: the palette used by Rosenthal's colour specialists features not just one but several shades of gold, for instance. In total, Rosenthal produces 14 million individual items per year. But very few people know that the brand has also had close links with furniture design for a good many years: Philip Rosenthal, the son of the company founder, even channelled his passion for interior design into his own furniture manufacturing company.

Soft and snug: "s359 c" daybed by Sönke Martensen, shown here with the "I1p" suspension lamp and "Pollo" vase.

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Soft and snug: "s359 c" daybed by Sönke Martensen, shown here with the "I1p" suspension lamp and "Pollo" vase.

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Sensuous: smoked oak veneer tabletop on steel trestles by Sönke Martensen and "S43" chair by Mart Stam at Rosenthal's Munich store.

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Sensuous: smoked oak veneer tabletop on steel trestles by Sönke Martensen and "S43" chair by Mart Stam at Rosenthal's Munich store.

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"We're revisiting that idea," says Andreas Gerecke, Rosenthal's director of marketing, "by adding warm, sensuous furniture and accessories to our cool products. All of it is handmade and produced in top-quality, small-scale production runs – often special editions of classics. Thonet's 'S43' chair, for instance, which was designed by Mart Stam in 1931, is being produced exclusively in puristic white."

Practical: the "SuperSputnik" stool.

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Practical: the "SuperSputnik" stool.

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The furniture features in perfectly composed arrangements at Rosenthal's flagship stores in Berlin and Munich, as well as at selected retail outlets. It's best experienced first-hand – along with the fascination of Rosenthal's glasses, gift collections and new bone china series "Brilliance Fleurs Sauvages" by Swiss designer Regula Stüdli.

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Photos: Christoph von Haussen, Rosenthal

Rosenthal GmbH
Philip-Rosenthal-Platz 1
95100 Selb
mail@rosenthal.de

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