Former top model Claudia Schiffer designed a collection for the first industrial porcelain factory Vista Alegra founded in 1824 and the ceramics factory Bordallo Pinheiro founded in 1884. Named Cloudy Butterflies, the glass vases and porcelain tablewares in the collection are ornamented with butterflies.

German top model Claudia Schiffer has presented products of countless brands for years of her striking career. But this last collaboration is different from other and reveals Schiffer’s fond of design. There are three glass vases and five butterfly themed tableware ceramics in the collection she designed for two long-established brand. Presenting Claudia Schiffer’s butterfly designs in the spring edition of Maison&Objet, both brands are important parts of Portuguese culture. With its’ authentic ceramics Portuguese has a special place in ceramics history of art and an important ceramics tradition that’s still living today.

Founded by José Ferreira Pinto Basto in 1824, Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory is the first industrial enterprise producing porcelain. Porcelain manufacturing was not known back then so glass and soapstone wares were being produced. It has stopped glasssware production in 1880 to focus only on porcelain. And in order to overcome the difficulties of porcelain production, founder’s son  Augusto Ferreira Pinto Basto has researched the porcelain clay composition in Sèvres Porcelain Factory in France and gained knowledge. In 1832 it was a milestone for Vista Alegre to explore the big kaolin deposits in North of Ílhavo where the factory is located. Technological developments, employing international masters with extensive knowledge in ceramics and education of highly qualified local craftsmen on porcelain manufacturing have allowed quality products to be procured and led the way to success. Being among the most prestigious European manufacturers, the factory has overcome all even it had tough times in 20th century. Vista Alegre Museum that has been opened in 1964, has got a collection of witnessing the company’s long and rich history. In 1985 they also opened the Vista Alegre Art and Development Center (Centro de Arte e Desenvolvimento da Empresa - CADE) for painting and sculpture education as well as promoting the creation for new pieces and decorations. Today Vista Alegre is mor than an industrial enterprise. It’s also a part of the Portuguese cultural heritage and social and artistic memory essential for bilding the Portuguese identity.

Another brand that has an important place in Portuguese’s cultural history is Bordallo Pinhero. This brand of 150 years, has been founded by Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro, one of the most influential figures of 19th century Porteguese culture. The artist created works which are pioneering and genuine in the areas of caricature and artistic ceramics. Pinheiro has started ceramics manufacturing in Fábrica de Faianças Caldas in 1884. He made superior and creative pieces in terms of technicality and art. Embracing a modern and entrepreneurial approach today, Bordallo Pinheiro plays and important role in continuing the artistic heritage of Porteguese ceramics and Fábrica de Faianças Artísticas.

Claudia Schiffer’s collaboration with two brands is to do with her fond of ceramics. Schiffer and her film producer husband Matthew Vaughn have a great collection of contemporary art and she says that she has been collecting Bordallo Pinhero products for many years “My first Bordallo Pinhero piece was given by my Portuguese friends as a gift in my birthday many years ago. Since then I have collected nearly everything made by Bordallo. And I finally decided to confess my love and requested them to make my ideas come true. Later, as a matter of course it continued with the collaboration made with Vista Alegre.”

The source of inspiration for the design ideas mentioned by Claudia Schiffer, is the nature around her in her childhood. While growing up surrounded by rural areas near Rhine River in Germany, she has observed the nature. And butterflies showed up as part of that nature. With these products she wanted to impose an emotion of bringing nature to home. She also points out that the cultural heritage of the brands is also inspirational.

Journal of Science, Art, Technique and Industry

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