Colour Porcelain for 1616 Arita - Design Bureau

Colour Porcelain for 1616 Arita

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

By John Dugan
Photos by Inga Powillei

Japanese Arita porcelain is renowned for its quality and fine hand-painted decorations. The area's porcelain painting tradition dates back to 1616, when an abducted Korean potter happened upon the fine Arita clay.

At the request of venerable Japanese porcelain makers 1616 Arita, Dutch designers Scholten & Baijings created a comprehensive porcelain service divided into three series: Minimal, Colourful and Extraordinary. Each series includes plates, cups and bowls, serving platters, candleholders, vases and a tea set. For the collection, Scholten & Baijings analyzed colors used in Japanese historical masterpieces, discovering that aquarelle blue, light green, red-orange and yellow ochre were often the stars of the show. They use the colors individually in the new designs, layering them in glazes that together form a specific Arita color spectrum. The collaboration might be one of the best examples of a mix of Asian and European culture we've seen recently.

And when modern Dutch design meets Japanese porcelain craftsmanship to such winning effect, awards are won. Last week, the Dutch Design Awards (DDA) gave Scholten & Baijings' 'Colour Porcelain' collection the award for 'Best Consumer Product.' The international jury said, "This delicate service emanates absolute harmony, both in form, color and the application of glaze. The design subtly makes use of the past, which is what makes it strong. It is an ultimate match between consumer culture on the one hand and the design proposition on the other.” The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen has purchased the entire collection. 

Colour Porcelain is available for purchase online via

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