When designer Gauri Khan visited Maison et Objet earlier this year, one of the brands she was looking forward to was Vista Alegre (VA). She called their latest collaboration with French design house Christian Lacroix “bold, vibrant and fun, and a must-have for fashionable homes”. Fortunately, we won’t have to travel all the way to Paris to get our hands on this Portuguese porcelain brand.
After creating a presence for itself in Spain, Brazil, Germany, France, the US and Italy, VA has made its way to Indian shores. “This is an enormous market, and the country has a very sophisticated segment that appreciates art, design and beauty,” says Paulo Soares, commercial director of Vista Alegre Atlantis. “We think our products fit perfectly with these values and we believe they will be very appreciated.”
He predicts that their collections like Transatlantica, Brazilian designer Brunno Jahara’s tile-inspired pieces, will do well here, as will the new Lacroix collab. Called Primavera, it features tropical scenes on white porcelain — with gold and platinum tones — through vibrant floral patterns, colourful birds, lush vegetation and fireflies. One of the defining features of VA’s products is that they are all hand-painted by one of 17 artists employed at the factory in Ílhavo.
Dressing up ceramic
But how does a 194-year-old brand appeal to millenials who, according to several reports, are “killing” everything from the diamond industry to paper napkins? By adapting to the “needs and artistic trends of current times”, says Soares. “In the ’20s and ’30s, the company launched products in the Art Deco style, in the ’30s and ’40s, it was linked to the Cubism art trend,” he says, adding that their pieces are also on display at the Museum of Modern Art of New York (MoMA).
The brand has a legacy of working with Portugal’s finest, like architect Siza Vieira and artist Joana Vasconcelos. French cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé designed four limited-edition trays in his signature poetic colours, while designer Oscar de la Renta created the Coralina collection, featuring floral motifs inspired by a dress he created for Vogue magazine. Last year, architect Ana Aragão created VA’s first collectible Plate Calendar.
“We like our designs to be strongly linked to culture — art, architecture, sculpture, fashion — be it for tableware, home décor, lighting, giftware or hotelware,” Soares says. “This ethos continues to work for us, even with the current generation, whose tastes are diversified: some like classical, vintage profiles, while others are all out contemporary. We try and cater to both ends of the spectrum.”
Stating that their competitors are “Rosenthal, Bernardaud, Wedgwood and Villeroy & Boch”, among others, he emphasises that VA is a “very dynamic brand”. Apart from crockery, he says, “This year, we also have two big novelties: the lighting collection with Ross Lovegrove and the Unica collection in art crystal and glass that combines old savoir-faire with contemporary design. Strong collaborations with designers and artists always lead to extraordinary pieces and collections.”
Vista Alegre is available exclusively at OMA outlets in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh. Visit vistaalegre.com for details.