Villeroy & Boch’s his­toric Saareck Cas­tle and Mu­seum of Ce­ram­ics in Ger­many

Philippine Tatler Homes - - CONTENTS - Words CRISTINA MO­RALES Pho­tos MIA BOR­ROMEO AD­DI­TIONAL Pho­tos courtesy of VILLEROY & BOCH

Nes­tled in a park on the banks of the River Saar in the town of Met­t­lach in west­ern Ger­many, Saareck Cas­tle has at­tracted vis­i­tors from all over the world since it be­came the of­fi­cial guest­house of the lux­ury ce­ram­ics maker Villeroy & Boch in the mid-20th cen­tury. A pi­o­neer in the realm of ce­ramic de­sign and in­no­va­tion, Villeroy & Boch was founded in 1748 by Fran­cois Boch in Lo­raine, a lit­tle vil­lage on the bor­der of Ger­many and France. En­vi­sion­ing a more peace­ful fu­ture for his chil­dren, the for­mer black­smith turned to ce­ramic mak­ing, set­ting up a small work­shop with just 12 em­ploy­ees.

As Boch built up what would be­come his em­pire, an­other ce­ram­ics man­u­fac­turer—the Villeroy fam­ily—came into the pic­ture in 1789, when founder Ni­co­las Villeroy set up his fac­tory along the Saar Bank. In 1836, as the mar­ket be­came in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive ow­ing to the Bri­tish In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, Boch and Villeroy de­cided to merge. Six years af­ter their merger, the busi­ness re­la­tion­ship be­came a fam­ily one when Eu­gen von Boch mar­ried Oc­tavie Villeroy, his part­ner Al­fred Villeroy’s sis­ter.

To­day, Wen­delin von Boch-gal­hau, from the fam­ily’s eighth gen­er­a­tion, heads the com­pany’s board of su­per­vi­sors. Un­der his man­age­ment the group takes on a new strat­egy, pre­sent­ing not just in­di­vid­ual prod­ucts, but ef­fec­tively-de­signed liv­ing spa­ces: The House of Villeroy & Boch.


First pre­sented dur­ing the com­pany’s 250-year an­niver­sary in 1998, “The House of Villeroy & Boch” is an ex­hi­bi­tion guid­ing the cas­tle and mu­seum’s vis­i­tors through the com­pany’s sto­ried his­tory. The ex­hi­bi­tion shows how Villeroy & Boch has evolved through the years, from the opulence and grandeur of the Baroque and Ro­coco Pe­ri­ods to the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion’s democrati­sa­tion; from the dy­namism of the early 20th cen­tury to post-war moder­nity and, fi­nally, the in­no­va­tions that have brought the com­pany into the new mil­len­nium.

Villeroy & Boch’s back­ground in rich Euro­pean cul­ture and his­tory has made it one of the most im­por­tant pre­mium brands

in bath­room and well­ness, table­ware and tiles—each prod­uct bear­ing the marks of French de­sign flair and Ger­man en­gi­neer­ing ef­fi­ciency. To­day, the com­pany is made up of more than 7,300 em­ploy­ees and op­er­ates state-of-the-art pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties in Europe, Mex­ico and Thai­land. Now present in 125 coun­tries, Villeroy & Boch con­tin­ues to in­spire peo­ple around the world with its ex­quis­ite designs of the high­est qual­ity.

The com­pany’s ce­ram­ics are favoured by roy­alty, the elite and even the Pope. As the leader of the ce­ram­ics in­dus­try, Villeroy & Boch con­sis­tently de­votes it­self to the com­bi­na­tion of art and life, al­low­ing more peo­ple to live a life of royal qual­ity.


This dis­tinc­tive qual­ity of life can be ex­pe­ri­enced at Saareck Cas­tle, a beau­ti­ful struc­ture that gets its charm from its sto­ried past. The cas­tle was de­signed by the Cologne ar­chi­tect Lud­wig Arntz, who also served as the cathe­dral mas­ter and mon­u­ment pre­server. Com­mis­sioned by Ade­line von Boch, née Baroness von Liebieg from

Bo­hemia and Luitwin von Boch, the cas­tle’s foun­da­tion stone was laid on 5 July 1902 and, by 1903, the cas­tle was avail­able for pur­chase. From 1911 to 1912, the cas­tle was en­larged by an ex­ten­sion de­signed by the ar­chi­tect Eu­gen Sch­mohl.

Dur­ing World War II, Luitwin von Boch turned Saareck into a hos­pi­tal, erect­ing a large red cross on the roof that pro­tected it from de­struc­tion. As soon as the war ended, oc­cu­py­ing troops used the cas­tle as an ad­min­is­tra­tive build­ing. In the suc­ceed­ing years, numer­ous em­ploy­ees of Villeroy & Boch, as well as refugee-rel­a­tives of the fam­ily of Boch, stayed in the cas­tle.

Fi­nally, in 1954, the cas­tle be­came the guest­house of Villeroy & Boch. Stay­ing at any of Saareck Cas­tle’s in­di­vid­u­ally fur­nished guest rooms is a jour­ney through time (without do­ing away with Wifi and flat-screen TV, of course). Saareck Cas­tle’s spa­cious premises are also ideal for spe­cial pri­vate cel­e­bra­tions such as wed­dings and an­niver­saries, whether the gath­er­ing has 10 guests or 200.

All sorts of at­trac­tions sur­round the cas­tle—na­ture, his­tory (at the Old Abbey, the head­quar­ters of Villeroy & Boch AG), and shop­ping. Sea­sonal dishes await din­ers at the Abteigarten Restau­rant. There, too, for hire is the His­toric Dairy. Whether for plea­sure or busi­ness, a stay at Saareck Cas­tle is charm­ing, an ex­pe­ri­ence that is noth­ing short of un­for­get­table.

clock­wise from top The wood-pan­elled Din­ing Hall of Saareck Cas­tle; din­ner is served on Villeroy & Boch’s clas­sica con­tura bone china with pat­terns in­spired by clas­si­cal ar­chi­tec­ture; a view of the cas­tle’s rich in­te­ri­ors

op­po­site The ivy-cov­ered walls of Villeroy & Boch’s of­fi­cial guest­house, Saareck Cas­tle

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