The key to iconic German brand Rosenthal’s success lies in its talent for timely collaborations
Since its early days, Rosenthal has had a knack for spotting design talent in its ascendancy and harnessing creative sparks
For a porcelain manufacturer with a history dating back to 1879, it would be easy for Rosenthal to rest on its laurels. After all, some of its original products, such as the elegantly frilly ‘Maria’ tableware set from 1916, designed by founder Philip Rosenthal for his wife, remain in production and are bestsellers. However, the Rosenthal of today, while still based close to its roots in the Bavarian town of Selb – with a factory designed by Bauhaus master Walter Gropius – is concerned with innovation. From its current headquarters, a building designed by artist Otto Piene, the company is fast becoming a homeware Mecca, producing not only contemporary tableware, but lighting, furniture, and, as of April, bathroom accessories with Spanish brand Pomd’or.
‘ We want to create new products that are relevant to our time,’ says Robert Suk, who has been head of product development at Rosenthal for more than 15 years. Much like Philip Rosenthal, the founder’s son, who ran the company until the 1980s, forging collaborations with the likes of Andy Warhol, Henry Moore and Tapio Wirkkala, Suk too has a knack for spotting talent in its ascendancy. He has worked with Jasper Morrison, developing his ‘Moon’ tableware, as well as French designer Cedric Ragot.
Since 2009, Rosenthal has been a part of the Arcturus Group, a family of companies that includes Italian kitchen and homeware brands Paderno and Sambonet. In 2015, it relaunched ‘Interieur’, its furniture collection. Designs include the sleek ‘Mellow’ dining table by German creative duo Diana and Emmanuel Dietrich, ‘Shell’ chairs ( both above) and the modular ‘Bay’ seating by Sebastian Herkner.
While we now take the concept of brand collaboration for granted, Philip Rosenthal’s decision to work with upand-coming artists was a visionary move, and one that’s still driving the brand’s future. rosenthal.co.uk