The Spirit Of Porcelain
What prompted Lladró to come to India? How has the reaction been?
Lladró has huge presence in 120 countries across the world. People in India love art, live with art and all the surroundings have a lot of art. Indian culture is very rich – it is a great inspiration for Lladró, so it is only natural that Lladró come here. Before coming to India we sold a lot of Lladró figurines to Indians overseas and also Indians who travelled abroad. We have five boutiques across India. I have met a lot of clients directly and got excellent feedback.
What is your role at Lladró as a family member?
I do make sketches for the group though I do not get enough time to create the pieces. During my travels I view objects from an artistic point of view, which I later use as a source of inspiration to create new designs. I have witnessed many cultures and realise how deeply we need to understand them. The whole family is involved in creativity. There is a creative committee that sees that everything is done with the Lladró spirit. No one makes porcelain the way we do. There is control at every step.
How have things changed since the beginning – 1952? How does the company stay updated with international tastes?
The DNA has come from the beginning – we do not want to lose it. That is the very essence of Lladró. Every Lladró piece is made by hand in the traditional way. We do not disturb the environment but take inspiration from nature. The philosophy, however, changes from country to country, keeping in mind the sensibilities of that country’s culture. We keep looking at how society is evolving…. I wanted to learn how the products were made, from scratch. I trained in the production department for three years and later became a part of the creativity committee. We look at production initially, the spirit of the product later and then comes distribution. We believe in making the consumer our customer – small at first and then letting them grow. We started with a small family which has now grown to a large extended family.
How long does it take to make one piece?
From the time the piece is conceived, made into a prototype and finished, it could take between three to six months for a simple piece. For the Queen of the Nile, it took five years to develop the prototype. Only 100 pieces were made. It is a limited edition. It takes about three to four months to reproduce this one piece. In India, we have sold two pieces each costing about Rs 74 lakh. It is 1.6 metres long, made from the highest quality porcelain.
As a trained sculptor do you sculpt in your spare time?
I sculpt sometimes. It is a private collection. I also paint.
What other products will you bring to India?
We already have bath products and super fragrances available here. We also sell high-end porcelain lighting. We won the Design Award in Paris for our chandeliers.
What other plans do you have for India?
We are looking at expansion but it will happen slowly. One per cent of our global business comes from India while 32 to 34 per cent comes from the US. We do not expect the recent financial global meltdown to affect the high-end exclusive collections but it may impact the small buyers.
Is this your first visit to India?
No, I have backpacked in India for several months when I was young and today I see a huge difference. I see an exciting and vibrant India!
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