Designers Flock to the Dinner Table

For more than 250 years, the name Wedgwood has been synonymous with the highest standards of quality, craftsmanship and innovate design in the world of tableware.  Isabel Tapp, CEO of tappintomalta meets with Peter Taylor, Export Sales Manager of the Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton Group during his visit to Malta, to find out what’s new in the world of tableware.

IT:  Peter, can you tell us what is on trend for Summer and Autumn 2015?

PT : Well, in the Wedgwood Collections, there are two strong contenders; Jasper Conran’s brand new Tisbury range, which was the success of this year’s international trade show in Frankfurt.  A cream fluted range, Jasper Conran’s signature aesthetic mixes classic British style and elegance to create a striking contemporary range to suit any occasion.

The range poised to take Autumn/Winter 2015/6 by storm, is the ARRIS range, a traditional bone china pattern in black and gold, accessorized with a great range of pieces such as matching glasses, vases, bowls, candle holders, picture frames; all ideal for gifting.  ARRIS will be launched in September; its bold black and gold colour palette perfect for the winter and Festive Season.

IT :  You have been collaborating with big designers such as Jasper Conran and Vera Wang; do you have any plans to work with any other designers? 

PT :  With the Wedgwood ranges, not at present, as these two designers are very successful both in  Europe and the USA. However, at  Royal Doulton, we have been working with Gordon Ramsey and have just stated a collaboration with Charlene Mullen, the homewares London designer; having had a very successful launch last year, we are now adding extra pieces to the Collection.  Charlene’s range is very chic and very London.

We have also commissioned Barber & Osgerby, the design team responsible for the design of the 2012 London Olympic torch,  to look specifically at the 200th Anniversary of Royal Doulton which is this year.  They chose to celebrate this event by creating the Pipe Vase. The pair drew their inspiration from the shape of the salt-glazed stoneware pipes that were some of the most significant products to be manufactured in the early days of Royal Doulton.  The Pipe Vase is crafted in matt black stoneware with a gloss glaze interior, and is as practical as it  is beautiful; this vase is set to become a design classic!

Barber & Osgerby have also added the OLIO Collection to the Royal Doulton range; an earthenware tableware range in a retro style reminiscent of the Royal Doulton style of the 60’s and very popular in Northern Europe, particularly in Scandinavia and Iceland.  The OLIO style is particularly popular with the younger, more trend conscious customer; it is also more accessible from a price point of view to Wedgwood, therefore appealing to a younger market.

IT : How do you differentiate between Wedgwood and Royal Doulton markets?

PT:  Wedgwood is the more traditional; very popular with the bridal market offering timeless, classic styles that do not go out of fashion, whilst with Royal Doulton, we have made a conscious decision to develop more casual tableware in trending, retro styles and colours at a more affordable price point and therefore more accessible to a younger consumer.

IT :  Do you have an particular Collections that are aimed at the Mediterranean market?

PT:  The Royal Doulton design team launched PACIFIC in February; a casual, on trend look in a strong deep blue; perfect for the Mediterranean outdoor and yachting summer lifestyle and also very successful in Australia. A second ideal Collection for the Mediterranean is the HEMINGWAY Design, a collection of contemporary accessories for decoration as well as for everyday use, developed through a collaboration between Royal Doulton and HemingwayDesign, which sees the Hemingway family working directly with the Royal Doulton designers, bringing together years of experience and combining their distinctive style with the Royal Doulton brand heritage.  The result : a right-on-trend range of accessories in bright retro colours.

IT:  How did the partnership between Royal Albert and Miranda Kerr come about?

PT:  Miranda, who as you know built a career as a model and entrepreneur, fell in love with the Royal Albert design, which is the very traditional old country rose design and best seller of Royal Albert.  We sent our design team to Australia to meet with Miranda and together they designed a new pattern reflecting the history of Royal Albert, but also more contemporary, incorporating her love of peonies and butterflies into a fun and floral tea and gift range, with all items being gift boxed. It is the biggest new pattern launch that Wedgwood has had as a group for 10 years.  It has been on the market for only 18 months and has been a fantastic success in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.  In Australia alone, the range sold 1.9Million Australian Dollars in the first year, which is unprecedented. It is aimed at young women in their 20’s and 30’s, a much younger market than the traditional Royal Albert customer.  Miranda is currently working on extensions to this range and a new pattern which will launch in 2016.

Wedgwood, Royal Doulton and Royal Albert Collections can be found at The House Shop, Ta’ Xbiex. Various items can be found in stock, alternatively full collections can be ordered with a 2–10 weeks delivery to Malta. 




Unlimited Rug Editions

Isabel Tapp had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Verschueren, Export Manager for Belgian rug company, Limited Edition, during his flying visit to Malta over Easter weekend.  The company specializes in producing handmade rugs of any colour and design imaginable.  They supply rugs to designer brands Hugo Boss, Burberry and Ralf Lauren amongst others.

IT :  Nicholas, can you tell me about Limited Edition, how did it all start?

N :  It all started with “boarders”.  25 years ago, the trend in Northern Europe was for wall-to-wall fitted carpets.  The founder of the company, Katia Dewitte, who was at the time working for a carpet company, came up with the idea of producing a rug with a finished border that could be laid under a dining table or coffee table.  Her boss at the time was not really interested in the new concept and told her that there was no market for such a rug.  So she decided to quit, bought a sewing machine and started making her own boarders, specifically for rugs.  Carpet manufacturers eagerly bought the borders and the rug as we know it today, came onto the market.

Eventually, she began to design her own rugs, in entirety, bought a weaving mill and started weaving flat woven rugs.

Her brother, James Dewitte,  joined the business, bringing with him economic and business expertise, and thus Limited Edition was born.

IT:  What is Limited Edition today?

N:  Today, Limited Edition employs 150 people and produces an enormous range of rugs, from leather rugs to hand woven and hand tufted rugs, ranging in price from 70 Euros per square metre to 700 Euros per square metre, catering to every need a customer may have. 

IT : What makes Limited Edition unique?

N:  Limited Edition have their own dye and yarn factory, which means that together with the skills and knowledge which have been accumulated over the years, we are able to produce a rug in the exact colour, size, pattern and border that the client wishes. We dye the yarns and produce the rugs to the highest quality 100% in Belgium.  No aspect of the production is out-sourced.

IT : Nicholas, I can see dozens of beautiful samples here of tufts in different lengths and a vast range of colours.  It looks a little daunting to the amateur interior designer:  Where does a customer start in designing a rug?

N:  We have designers on hand to help the customers design their rug, alternatively they may bring their own designer or architect into LOFT to assist them.

IT:  An interesting Limited Edition product for customers living in Malta is the outdoor or patio rug; this must surely be a new market for a rug company?

N:  We are finding that customers are spending more time in their homes, relaxing and entertaining friends, and for those with outdoor space, that space is viewed as an extension of their dining room or lounge.  Limited Edition has developed a range of rugs designed specifically for the outdoors.  UV and weather proof, the patio rugs are made of 100% polypropylene and are easy to clean.  Just use a hose to wash down the rug and leave to dry outdoors; they are also non-shrink and the colour will not fade.  Pool side rugs are also made from PVC yarns and customers can add a stripe in any colour, co-ordinating with outdoor furniture.

We are also seeing a trend where these outdoor rugs are being used indoors, for example under dining tables; the benefit of this is that if anything is spilt on the rug, it can be very easily cleaned.

Nicholas assured me that the colour of outdoor patio and poolside rugs will not fade even under the fierce Maltese sunshine!  An innovative, modern concept, yet extremely practical particularly for the coming summer months when we will all be spending the majority of our time outdoors.

Standard size and bespoke Limited Edition rugs are available in Malta exclusively at LOFT, Naxxar. Delivery time to Malta is approximately 6 weeks.