SHOP­PING

The la­bels “frag­ile” and “han­dle with care” have never been as vivid as when Annabelle Mallia pe­rused the gleam­ing white shelves of Ger­many’s most ex­clu­sive porce­lain man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Where Berlin - - CONTENTS -

Fa­mil­iar­ize your­self with the old Ger­man tra­di­tion of porce­lain mak­ing.

Re­sem­bling the fine, translu­cent sur­face of the cowry shell, porce­lain has been em­bel­lish­ing many of Europe’s rul­ing houses since the 13th cen­tury. Im­ported from China at astro­nom­i­cal prices, the white ma­te­rial was held in such great es­teem that many at­tempted to re­pro­duce it. The first Euro­pean porce­lain dates back to the early 1700s, when Elec­tor Au­gus­tus the Strong’s Meissen fac­tory in Dres­den fi­nally cracked the code to porce­lain in 1708. Made with a com­bi­na­tion of kaolin clay and alabaster mined from Sax­ony, the recipe was closely guarded there­after as a trade se­cret. The “crossed swords” iden­ti­fy­ing Meissen porce­lain have since be­come a sym­bol of qual­ity and tra­di­tion, and sam­ples can be ad­mired and bought at a hand­ful of Berlin

stores (Kur­fürs­ten­damm 21, Un­ter den Linden 39b, www.meissen.com).

Also of noble lin­eage, Berlin’s Königliche Porzel­lan- Man­u­fak­tur, or KPM Berlin, was cre­ated in 1763 when King Fred­er­ick the Great of Prus­sia bought a lo­cal porce­lain fac­tory. The royal company has since been pri­va­tized, but tra­di­tion con­tin­ues to reign. Ev­ery piece is shaped, fired, glazed, and exquisitely dec­o­rated by

hand at their man­u­fac­tory in the dis­trict of Tier­garten ( Wegelystr. 1. www.kpm-berlin.com), where you’ll also find their flag­ship and out­let store. Vis­i­tors can take a tour, at­tend a work­shop, and en­joy re­fresh­ments at the cafè – served on the finest KPM dishes, of course. For more af­ford­able pieces, visit Rosen­thal (Kur­fürs­ten­damm 200, www.rosen­thal.de) with their con­tem­po­rary de­signs in porce­lain and glass. With their head­quar­ters and fac­tory in Selb, they are in fact Ger­many’s mar­ket leader in this del­i­cate seg­ment.

The KPM show­room. Be­low: KPM prod­ucts.

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