Aristocracy on the Table

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Richard Ginori factory, founded in 1735, is Italy’s leading manufacturer of fine china tableware and artistic porcelain and also has an entire production line dedicated to hotel industry and coffee roasters. The Ginori brand has always been able to blend tradition with contemporary style. This Italian factory, associated with great names from architecture, fashion and design has made a name for itself as an icon of Italian style. Its pieces have graced museums and the tables of the world’s wealthy and aspiring middle class.

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Carlo Ginori, the Florentine marquis, opened the original factory here in 1735 after scouring Tuscany to find kaolin, the white clay that is the essential ingredient of porcelain. The business once flourished, and it remained in the family until it merged with Richard Ceramics of Milan in 1896 to become Richard Ginori. In those days, the company customized everything from tableware for luxury liners to dishware for luxury hotels and the Vatican.

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Unfortunately, formal dining is gradually dying out, and with it the market for handmade porcelain, which is painstakingly slow and expensive to produce. Like many similarly sized Italian industries, the company faced a choice between trying to preserve its status — and market — as a high-end niche product with a “Made in Italy” cachet, or to appeal to the broader, less expensive tastes of a global marketplace.

Richard Ginori has to capitalize on its high quality,” said Giovanni Nencini, an employee and factory spokesman for the trade union Cobas. “We are the Ferrari of porcelain, but the strategic plans of recent years have lowered the quality of the brand.”

Certainly, Richard Ginori was not alone in the pressures it faced. It has been a difficult time for porcelain makers worldwide. Many storied brands — Wedgwood, Spode, Rosenthal — have similarly been unable to survive in a market flooded by cheaper, utilitarian tableware, often from China, which first developed ceramics with a white clay body 1,500 years ago.

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In 2013 Gucci, the Italian leather-goods and fashion giant, made an “irrevocable” offer of 13 million euros to save Richard Ginori, from bankruptcy. After all, Gucci was already linked to Richard Ginori since the late 70s, for its production of porcelain objects, with the lovely drawings in the silk Flora scarf  by illustrator Vittorio Accornero, reproduced on porcelain cups, plates, flower vases. Gucci-Ginori represent a meeting of two exclusive brands that share the search for quality and elegance.

In 2014 Ginori reopened the historical boutique in Via Rondinelli in Florence. The 500 m2 is completely renovated and it represents the new maison Richard Ginori, revealing the ultimate expression of Italian excellence in the finest artistic production of porcelain the world over.

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The fully renovated boutique, spanning nearly 600 square meters and representing the new Ginori “home”, is located in the centuries-old building Palazzo Ginori, in the Tornabuoni neighbourhood in the heart of Florence. The concept of the store reflects Richard Ginori’s DNA as a combination of elegance and romantisism. The ceilings are hand-made decorated with Galli Ji Ondori, one of the iconic decoration of the Manifattura.

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The flagship store reveals a series of rooms, recreating the warm and welcoming atmosphere of an elegant home — the home of Richard Ginori. Inside, tradition and modemity live in harmony thanks to the sophisticated aesthetics of the collections and the fine materials employed in the restoration, which preserved the distinctive original features of the building. The exhibition itinerary winds through different spaces: the dining room, the kitchen, the drawing room, the lover’s alcove, the living area  and then on to the enchanting glasshouse featuring stained glass windows created by renowned Florentine decorative architect Tito Chini (1848-1947). The concept reflects Richard Ginori’s DNA: a combination of elegance and romanticism which characterizes both the environments and the collections. The design of the store pays homage to Richard Ginori‘s expertis, reproducing wooden coffered ceilings, as well as vaulted ceilings hand painted with Ji Ondori roosters, one of the brand’s Iconic moms.

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The ambience is warmed by the use of historic Versailles art flooring panels, boiseries and built-in shelves along the walls in shades of grey, edged in black, and restored fumishinqs, such as dressing  mirrors, tables and consoles. The kttchen features a cement tile and walls covered with hancl painted tiles showing the Manifattura‘s historic motifs.

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“To celebrate the inauguration of the flagship store, Richard Ginori has designed an exclusive collection for the Via de’ Rondinelli store. The Volière collection, offering a complete assortment of tea and coffee settings, follows the Imperial form, a distinctive shape of the Manifattura and a testament to its rigor and refined simplicity. The décor, inspired by the iconic prints in the Richard Ginori Manitattura Doccia Museum, reproduces images of hummingbirds and parrots on festoons framed by floral motifs delicately emphasised by gold edging.

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Cvetelina Aleksandrova

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/09/business/global/porcelain-factorys-fate-reflects-fragile-time-for-italy.html?_r=0

http://www.thisisitaly-panorama.com/business-news/gucci-group-bids-13-million-euros-for-richard-ginori/

http://www.gucci.com/it/worldofgucci/articles/richard-ginori

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