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Rosenthal embarked on a search for new ideas and flashes of inspiration. In keeping with the times, the company picked a crowdfunding platform and launched a competition. The idea: to develop a gift idea based on the theme of Togetherness to commemorate the 100th birthday of Philip Rosenthal.

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Scouting for surprising (product) ideas and bright (design) minds is fully in keeping with the tradition set by Philip Rosenthal. Back in 1961, he set the crucial course for the future of product development at the company with the creation of studio-line. Rosenthal was collaborating with contemporary artists, architects and designers long before design was en vogue. Walter Gropius, Otto Piene, Günther Uecker and Tapio Wirkkala are just a few of the illustrious names to design work for Rosenthal – and who literally turned the hitherto conservative world of porcelain on its head.

Talent-Scout
Philip Rosenthal

Under Philip Rosenthal, the porcelain factory founded by his father was transformed into a company synonymous with sophisticated, ambitiously designed tableware and home decor. From then on, architecture; art; design; technology and craftsmanship would be regarded as one entity. Just how important Philip Rosenthal is when it comes to uniting good design and constructed environment; creative collaboration with designers and promoting talent is illustrated by the Rosenthal Studio Award for Industrial Design, which was first awarded back in 1965. With a cash prize of DM 25,000 back then, the award was designed to recognise “trend-setting, promising ideas and designs that improve the human environment” and “pieces that are not simply made to be functional and flawless, but that are also exceptionally well designed”.

In competition
talented designers

This is also the approach followed by the design competition that Rosenthal initiated in mid-2015 on the crowdfunding platform www.designenlassen.de. (Young) designers are required to create a new porcelain design or a new piece as a gift idea to mark the 100th birthday of Philip Rosenthal. The motto of the competition is: Togetherness. Firstly because togetherness in today’s fastpaced, digital world means overcoming distances and gathering together around one table to exchange ideas and thoughts. Secondly because – even for Philip Rosenthal – togetherness is a medium for bringing forth creative ideas. He once said: “I, personally, have not developed or come up with anything. I have simply found people and ensured that they work together.”

The winner
a memory made of porcelain

The jury – comprising Paola Longoni (Marketing & Art Director, Sambonet Paderno), Sebastian Herkner (Designer), Robert Suk (Product Development Manager, Rosenthal), Insa Doan (Designer) and Andreas Gerecke (Marketing Director, Rosenthal) – screened around fifty submitted entries and crowned MemoryOneHundred by Judith Schöpke the winning design. The young product designer came up with an extremely playful approach to the task at hand, creating a product that we all remember from our childhood. But whereas the playing cards of our memory are usually fashioned from sturdy cardboard, in Judith Schöpke’s design they are crafted from porcelain. Adorning the cards and highlighted in black are images of the legendary Rosenthal pieces Maria, Century and TAC; architectural landmarks including Schloss Erkersreuth and the am Rothbühl factory designed by Walter Gropius.

The unusual playing cards, of which there are 18 pairs in total, also feature the portrait of Philip Rosenthal. They are also beautifully stored in a three-dimensional oak grid, which can also be used as a mat for a hot teapot. And her immense resourcefulness is being rewarded: the game made from porcelain and wood is due to be presented to the public for the first time at the consumer goods trade fair Ambiente in Frankfurt and will feature in Rosenthal’s 2016 anniversary campaign. Judith Schöpke will now be part of the Rosenthal community comprising over one thousand designers, artists and architects who have already designed collections for the company. Which is as good a reason to celebrate as any!