Bernardaud is one of the rare designers today whose atelier is still family-owned and still functions where it was founded. In 1863, the original Léonard Bernardaud began as a porcelain apprentice at a factory in Limoges, France. The terra in Limoges provides the required ingredients to make porcelain. While porcelain wares were made in China for millennia, the necessary ingredients weren’t discovered in France until the 18th century, the key component being kaolin. Kaolin is a type of white clay of which porcelain is 50% comprised. The remaining ingredients are two other minerals: quartz, and feldspar. Mix with water in the right proportions, and porcelain is born. Porcelain availability combined with French design aesthetic was a perfect recipe for stunning wares by Bernardaud.
Léonard Bernardaud's dedication to porcelain artisanry paid off. He eventually became a partner, brought the business global, and passed the business down to his two sons. Each successive generation of Bernardaud leadership brought innovation, from new kiln techniques in the mid-20th century to facility expansions and the adoption of an injection press. Each improvement resulted in more perfect and efficient production capabilities of beautiful porcelain objects. Michel has brought Bernardaud into the 21st century with a focus on two complementary goals: growth and preservation. Five generations after Léonard showcased his skills and creative mindset, the heritage craft of Bernardaud luxury French porcelain is still in the family.
The gorgeous designs from Bernardaud are creative and modern while maintaining a timeless aura. In addition to tableware, Bernardaud makes objects for the home such as light fixtures, jewelry, and artwork, which illustrates the family’s commitment to re-imagining the possibilities of this ancient material. Also true to their roots, the Bernardaud business trains, employs, and elevates the careers of artists, some of whom have been honored by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and who are associated with many of Bernardaud’s signature collections. Olivier Gagnère is behind the Naxos collection, which speaks to the simple beauty of white porcelain. Sarah Lavoine came up with the bold dots and hand-drawn lines featured in the Arboro collection. Bernardaud finds not just partnership with today’s top artists and designers, but is also inspired by history, reflected in the Kintsugi collection, from the 16th-century Japanese art of repairing broken porcelain with gold, and the Louvre collection, which draws on French architecture from the Renaissance to the late 19th century.
From model-making to various methods of clay form-making techniques from a mold, including casting, calibrating, and isostatic pressing, as well as finishing methods such as hand-glazing and decorating by painting, printing, or incrustation, artists and artisans show off their talents at Bernardaud. Upon completion, each object is inspected. About 25% of pieces that emerge from the kiln are not perfect enough for shop shelves. But those that do make it are exquisite. Find a Bernardaud set to suit your dining room table, breakfast nook, or a loved one’s home, by browsing Lux Bond & Green’s favorites online, or in your nearest Connecticut or Massachusetts location. Allow the cutest espresso cup, the finest mug, or the sleekest matching dinner service, all in porcelain, to uplift your day and those with whom you dine, knowing that you’re all taking part in a piece of French luxury history.