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Sculpted to perfection

David Lladro was recently in Chennai to assess the market for his exquisite porcelain sculptures. An interview with the scion of the family...

IN RECENT times, international players have taken keen interest in promoting not just their latest scientific technology in India but are beginning to share their traditional sculptures too. David Lladro of the famed Lladro family was in Chennai recently to sign some porcelain figurines bought by his collectors, giving Chennai-ites a rare opportunity to personally express their passion for the timeless artefacts to the man behind the label.

"This is my first visit to India and I have read that India has rich culture and tradition and creative people. I can see it for myself now by the way people appreciate the sculptures. I think Lladro collectors worldwide share the same passion."

Founded as a small artisan workshop in the mid-1950s in Almacera, a village near the Valencia city, Spain, Lladro has since grown in multitude and recently opened its third museum and gallery in the world and first in India at New Delhi. David says, "From the first sculpture representing a ballerina to the latest collection which is a fusion of porcelain and precious stones, `Celebration of life' has been our theme behind every statuette. We try to incorporate soul and life into very carving. That's what makes Lladro unique."

Sculptures and artefacts have always had a special place in India and the Lladro products has been launched and distributed in the country through SPA Agencies. David feels, "Catering for the local customer is important. My visit to India was mainly to better understand Indian customers, and although we do not customise our products, we have tried to localise the content. For instance, we have designed exclusive Ganeshas, just for our Indian customers."

Specialising in porcelain figurines, Lladro now exports its handcrafted figurines to over 100 countries. Well, as for the prices, they are anywhere between $75 and $35,000.

Says Rajashri, a collector for over a decade, "I was introduced to Lladro by my sister. So far I have collected around 20 pieces and am thrilled about the piece that I just bought with David Lladro's signature."

Latha Reddy, from Hyderabad, says, "This is what we treasure and would like to pass it on to the next generation. A cousin gifted the first piece and that's how we got interested in the sculptures."

The Lladros have their own School of Art in Spain, where they conduct three-year courses on drawing, painting, sculpting and so on. "The in-house sculptors have either graduated from our own school or qualified from elsewhere. As for the designs, it always revolves around the circle of life and the artisans are free to use their imagination," says David.

As for the response from the sub-continent, "The response has been overwhelming and I intend to make more frequent visits here after. I am quite optimistic about our growth here and from the feedback I received, India seems to be a potential market for our products as the appreciation for art is found in abundance here."

Lladro's boutique is located at Isphani Centre, Nungambakkam.


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