Playing with tradition
Plates with blue-painted motifs are probably the most traditional style there is, but with the PROMENAD series we wanted to find a decorative style that also felt playful and modern, even though it’s classic. That’s why we asked designer Malin Åkerblom to help us and use her artistic talents to make PROMENAD plates something very special.
Story: There is an interesting story behind blue-painted porcelain. This classic combination was first created in Holland in the 17th century as an attempt to copy porcelain from China, which was often decorated with plant and flower patterns in cobalt blue. The trend later spread to the Swedish porcelain factories which produced decorative plates for everyday use. When the PROMENAD series was still in the idea stage, we decided that it was just this porcelain tradition we wanted to work with. We wanted a classic plate with a hand-painted look, but that breaks with the conventional in a playful way and becomes something totally new. To succeed with our plan we contacted designer Malin Åkerman. Malin had previously painted beautiful watercolours for our metre fabrics. And when the product developer for porcelain saw her skill she knew that it was just Malin’s artistic talents that were needed to create the motifs for PROMENAD. Even though decals were used to decorate the plates, it was important to bring out the hand-painted feeling. So Malin was given a free hand to paint the motifs for three classic plates and one deep bowl.
Playfulness was also something that Malin concentrated on in her design. She painted watercolours in different nuances of blue to connect with the traditional porcelain, but her motifs were different than what you usually find on plates.”At this point in my life I was fascinated by the shape of hot air balloons and how they float when they move. I also looked at a lot of old tiles with patterns and at mosaic decorations in architecture to find a style that brings out the different nuances of blue,” says Malin.
After painting different motifs with blue watercolour paint, she scanned them into the computer, printed them out and began arranging them playfully on the plates. Usually, porcelain is decorated around the edge or centred in the middle. But to create something unexpected on the classic plates, Malin chose to arrange the decorations on the plates in a somewhat unconventional way. For example, the hot air balloon flies away over the edge of the side plate, and a bird breaks free from the decoration on the plate and flies off. The bowl has a beautiful border – straight across the inside of the bowl instead of along the outside edge.
”I like it when things can appeal to both adults and children. The motifs aren’t centred, so there’s no right way to set the plates on the table either. Depending on which direction you choose to place the plates, you’ll discover different things in the motifs. Something like when you look at a cloud and it forms different figures. So children can let their imaginations drift away when they eat dinner. Because, if you don’t get bored with a design, you’ll want to keep it for longer,” explains Malin. Which is also the point with PROMENAD – beautiful pieces in a table setting that work just as well with fine wine glasses as breakfast cereal. Regardless of whether you choose to place them in a playful or a traditional way.
Designer thought Malin Åkerblom: ”I was inspired by old hand-painted tiles and architecture with mosaics. The blue colour relates back to traditional porcelain, but the motifs are more unexpected. Like the hot air balloon that represents freedom and playfulness. The motifs on PROMENAD are positioned a bit unconventionally. Depending on which direction you look at them from, you see different things in the motifs. The idea is that the plates should work just as well for every day as for parties. Together with both fine wine glasses and breakfast cereal. And spread happiness for many years.”