For almost 300 years Rörstrand has been synonymous with quality and fine craftsmanship. Their plates and tableware have been handed down from generation to generation and become heirlooms, classics and collectors’ items that have written themselves into Swedish design history. Perhaps this is because they have always understood that quality goes beyond mere durability and functionality.
By then it was already 2,000 years since the Chinese had first transformed clay into beautiful, durable ceramics. Portuguese seafarers, admiring the results in the 1500s, called it porcelana, “mother of pearl”, for its sparkling lustre, but it was to take Europeans another 200 years to master the complexities of production.
In 1726 the Swedish Porcelain Manufactory was founded at Stora Rörstrand in Stockholm, and over the past three centuries millions of people in Sweden and abroad have enjoyed food on services signed with the name Rörstrand.
In the 1890s, Rörstrand recruited its first artists, among them Alf Wallander, to decorate breathtaking objets d’art for the Stockholm Exhibition in 1897 and the World Fair in Paris in 1900.
It was a breakthrough for Rörstrand. The company expanded, moved to Gothenburg in 1926 and to even larger premises in Lidköping in 1936. By then Louise Adelborg’s classic Swedish Grace service from 1930 had established Rörstrand’s reputation worldwide. It heralded a new tradition of collaboration with artists and designers, and a new ambition championed by artistic manager, Gunnar Nylund: designs that could be mass-produced to give every home the opportunity to own and enjoy beautiful tableware.
In his footsteps followed Carl-Harry Stalhane, whose experiments with countless styles and techniques during 34 years with Rörstrand had a huge effect on the development of the company’s designs. For Hertha Bengtson, function was foremost, exemplified by her revolutionary Koka Bla series of oven-to-tableware (1956–1988). And numerous other artists have also seen their names immortalised on Rörstrand porcelain, a tradition that is shouldered today by Katarina Brieditis and her light-hearted Kurbits, Pia Törnell’s elegant Convito, and Hanna Werning’s colourful Hanna.
Porcelain is more than just ceramics. It is part of everyday life. Everyday life to which Rörstrand adds a little extra sparkle, pleasure and convenience. Yesterday, today and for many years to come.
Throughout their long history, the ambition to focus on the ever-changing and highly personal value that is defined as taste has formed the cornerstone of the Rörstrand brand. Working closely with Sweden’s leading designers, they have captured the essence of good taste and preserved it in the form of beautiful everyday items of porcelain.
Some have aged better than others. Some have passed their best after a season or two. Others – never out of style – have retained what seems to be a timeless appeal. When we look back over their design history, we can see that every age has its taste.
Which will you choose and make your very own?
It’s a matter of taste.