It was quite a humbling experience visiting Europe in the two days leading up to the EU Referendum. Conversation flowed around choices and outcomes; what might happen, could it really happen? But then the mood changed and football happened too; that gave us something quite different to discuss for few hours.
Where was I?
Well, I was lucky enough to visit Germany and Luxembourg on a whistle-stop tour as guests of porcelain brand Villeroy & Boch. With their headquarters in Mettlach, Germany, this brand is synonymous with tradition, quality, beautiful designs and bags of history. I learned so much about them in the two days I was there, and I can’t possibly share all of that with you in one post. But I hope to give you a flavour of the company, what appealed to me, and some of my favourite pieces from the trip. There are quite a lot of photos in this post, but hopefully you’ll agree they help shape your idea of what the brand is, and allow me to show you more about my exciting two days.
Arriving in Mettlach we were shown to our castle where we were to spend the night and met the incredible L. G. Von-Boch, 10th generation of the Boch family and in his 80’s himself. Charismatic and endearing he regaled us with tales of the development of the company, as well as how they coped in Germany and Luxembourg during the war. He was even born in the castle where we stayed.
Villeroy & Boch, created in 1748 should be a company that is rooted in the past, particularly with such a dramatic and varied history, but one thing this trip taught me, is its strong commitment to innovation and new ways of thinking. It’s a brand that’s managed to change when needed, to adapt to altering societies, and been strategic enough to stay ahead of the game. You can’t help but be impressed that it’s at the forefront of design and technology in its field.
If you are a Villeroy & Boch fan you may recognise some of the collections I’ve shown above and below. Being someone drawn to a minimal design, the barbecue range was a particular favourite for me. Beautiful porcelain in a chunky yet sleek design with clever, creative features to make the eating experience more pleasurable.
Tableware is probably one of the areas that V&B is best known for, but I was blown away by the variety of tile designs from days gone by. They were everywhere. In the buildings we visited, on the walls, on the floors and in the museum. Did you know V&B designed tiles that were installed on the Titanic? A replica of that design is held in their museum. Such is their rich and varied history, they’ve dedicated a whole museum to their story, open to the public and well-loved. It even houses all the one-off designs made for royalty and celebrities.
The first day tour took us on a journey through the V&B story, from how the two families, the French Villeroys and the German Bochs, built an alliance and married each other, to the current tableware products, how they’re designed and the features that make them stand out from the crowd.
You can even see the Villeroy Boch wedding dinner recreated in life-sized figures, below. It’s quite a spectacle!
You’ll know I’m not one for a fussy design, and do prefer something contemporary and minimal, but that’s not to say that I can’t appreciate great design when I see it, and these are some of my favourites.
I couldn’t resist showing you this – another life size figure in the museum cafe. It’s quite a scene isn’t it. And those tiles!
It’s quite something to be surrounded by such history. Yet to be shown new designs, new technologies and new developments and collaborations. It was a beautiful combination of old and new.
The architecture and buildings were just stunning. The oldest church is positioned next to the modern millennium wall structure showcasing V&B’s diverse history and involvement in the community and wider. (Not everyone agrees that this is a good pairing though!)
And again below we have example of the old architectural detail displayed proudly with more contemporary art. It’s a great partnership.
From old tiled floors and grand ceilings we moved to contemporary bathrooms and accessories for the modern home. V&B are able to do this so well, and it speaks volumes about their history and position in the market.
Day 2 saw us travel across the border to Luxembourg to meet with local food blogger Anne from Anne’s Kitchen who introduced us to the Rotondes area and the stunning Buvette restaurant. It’s well worth a trip if you’re in Luxembourg, it’s very cool and the food is amazing, such a great collection of burgers served of course on V&B tableware.
Lunch was followed by more beautiful V&B owned buildings, this one more of an events location with stunning interiors that I just had to share. It’s not often that I get to photograph such stunning decor.
Can you spot the historical V&B pieces in the cabinet above?
And yes that really is a clock on the ceiling.
Thank so Villeroy & Boch for having me and I hope this has given you more of in insight into a company and brand that maybe you didn’t know too much about.
Feel free to have a little browse through their collections of course which you can do at www.villeroy-boch.co.uk