The Whimsical World of Porcelain
As we open our first Lladró boutique in Sydney, we explore why Lladró has been so popular across 130 countries and for many decades. What do current collectors see in the brand, products and design? And why do many invest in the high price tag that comes with Lladró?
In recent years, the Lladró has caught the eye of a younger, hipper crowd with new designs - think of their The Guest collaboration with Gary Baseman or the NightBloom lighting collection with Marcel Wanders and gone are the preconceptions of what millennials would see in their grandmother’s collection. In fact, this new take in modern porcelain art has grown so much of the current collection is modern. “The transition to modern porcelain art was natural for us. We’ve always made pieces that are suitable for current use and context, changing it up with all the changes to daily life over the decades“, says Fernando Gallego, the Chief Operating Officer of Lladró. Some limited edition pieces are pretty much sold out a few months after the first deliveries are made, and then sends the collectors into a frenzy trying to track a piece to purchase.
It isn’t easy to find home decor pieces that are of quality and exude a grandeur of modern design. Now that luxe living isn’t much of a taboo anymore with more people striving to live up to an influencer’s lifestyle or that Architectural Digest celebrity home tour, people are starting to look for art pieces to be displayed in their home. And then it gets tricky. Whilst it’s easy to find wall artworks, finding sculptural pieces that fill up a space (because yes, space is in 3D) there aren’t many sculptural creations, pieces that can be appreciated from every view. That’s why people turn to Lladró as their sculptural pieces can be easily incorporated into different interior design styles, to create layers of visual interest in the decor.
There is nothing simple or effortless about how any of the pieces in the Lladró collection are produced, with the same care and attention to detail going into the process now as when the company first began. In the firing process, each piece looses 15% of its size due to the loss of water, and for pieces that have complicated designs means that breakages is common. The colours and glazes are hand painted and in that process, mistakes can’t be erased nor fixed. The expression of each animal or figurine is finished by artisans that have more than 20 years of experience - only one department is allowed to detail the expressions as it is most important to complete the art piece. The ethos at the heart of the Lladró brand is all about creating unique pieces that people will cherish and love for years to come. This commitment to creating beautifully detailed pieces is one of the many reasons why people find the Lladró figurines so appealing, making them excellent collectible pieces.
Those Lladró pieces you have sitting at the back of your grandmother’s display cabinet at home isn’t something that is just of sentimental value to the family - they may also be highly sought after pieces that may fetch a pretty penny at auction. Real luxury items retain its value like the eponymous
Let’s look at an example: the “Little Pals” set from 1985. It retailed then for USD95, was retired the next year, and although it wasn’t a limited edition piece, then settled into a fairly stable $3,000 price tag on the secondary market. In 1992, it sold for a high of $6,000. Not bad, right? Click here to read more about the Lladró pieces that did well in auction.
Kwan Yin sculpture (ltd edn) that was auctioned off in Vietnam for more than 11x the retail value in November 2019.
The Functional Properties of Porcelain
Porcelain is one of the most difficult clays to work with - it’s clean, it’s white, it has its own truth. In a way, this blank canvas shows every strength and weakness of the artist. Such a powerful medium is the best way to showcase ideas and decoration techniques in its full glory.
The best part of it all - porcelain retains its colour and beauty over the decades. It’s simple to care for, whilst its enjoyment is infinite. The Lladró Lighting collection is now used in many hotels, commercial offices and hospitality hotspots as the quality and luxuriousness of porcelain adds presence to the space, as well as is easy to clean. There is no fear of the sun washing out the colours of a piece, nor is there anything that a bit of soap and water can’t solve. Lladró is also able to create custom chandeliers or lighting to specifications when designing specifically for a project.
The Security of Buying from a Big Luxury Brand
Lladró began as a part-time family business in 1953, brothers Juan, Jose, and Vicente Lladró were ruthless during the production of porcelain pieces. If there was any imperfections in the product, it was destroyed. Other companies would sell the product at a reduced price, but not Lladró. The brothers also limited the production of each design they made, ‘retiring’ them after a set number of pieces.
For decades, Lladró connoisseurs were affluent high society figures - and as such, the brand has flourished and its pieces have maintained its popularity and value. Current buyers can be reassured of the quality of the pieces made by Lladró, as well as the tradition, prestige and status that is synonymous with the brand.
Lladró has a free insurance policy (Lladró Assurance Program) that allows you to cover for your Lladró piece against breakage or damages. This is something that isn’t offered by most brands who produce porcelain pieces, and is a marker of how confident the brand is with their quality control process and to give their customers a peace of mind.