November 12, 2019

High Porcelain: The History of Lladro

For over half a century, Spanish-born Lladró carved a world-renowned reputation through high end sculptures and artisanal porcelain. Known for their partnerships with top artists and master craftsmen, Lladró’s signature style evolved from intricate figurines to decorative lighting, home accessories, jewelry, fragrances and beyond. But it wasn’t always this way.

In 1953, brothers Juan, José and Vicente Lladró molded their artistic talent and passion for porcelain to create something magical. From their home in Almàssera, they created plates, vases and ceramic figurines inspired by the great European manufacturers: Meissen, Sèvres, Capodimonte. The complex tulle and highly detailed flowers offered a glimpse into their now signature look, and as the decade came to a close, the first Lladró store opened in Valencia.

The ‘60s and ‘70s saw major growth, as Lladró entered the American market. A recognizable style also began to emerge: Elongated lines, complex figures, mastery of materials and intricate details. It’s in this era that they introduce the revolutionary single-firing method, ushering in Lladró’s hallmark pastel tones. This is also when the Professional Training School at Lladró HQ was established in Tavernes Blanques (Valencia), opening new doors with artists and technicians and driving the use of a new earthenware material: Gres.

As the ‘80s rolled in, many of Lladró’s works leapt into the fantasy and spiritual realm. Around this time, the brands popularity overseas begins to explode with subsidiaries in Japan and China, a museum and gallery in New York City and expansion into Russia, Eastern Europe and India. In 1985 the Lladró Collectors’ Society is founded, boasting more than 100,000 collectors in its lifespan.

The ‘90s and early aughts saw Lladró Boutiques appear in some of the most prestigious places around the world: Tokyo’s Ginza district, calle Serrano in Madrid, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Petrovsky Passage in Moscow and beyond. It’s around this time that Lladró kicks off their most successful partnership to date: With renowned artist Jaime Hayon on their highly popular The Guest figurine. From there, partnerships with Bodo Sperlein, Culdesac, Paul Smith, Rolito, Gary Baseman and - most recently Marcel Wanders on his stunning Nightbloom collection - highlight Lladró’s staying power and ability to evolve with the times.

From luxury and spirituality to Disney and anime, Lladró has done it all. What’s on the horizon is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain: This is not your grandma’s porcelain anymore.