“Our aim is to create beautiful plates and ceramic pieces that bring back the warmth often lost through the industrial production of porcelain,” says Laboratorio Paravicini co-founder Costanza Paravicini. Together with her partner Benedetta Medici, the duo produce custom pieces “inspired by the old, glorious ceramic and porcelain houses of Europe, including Capodimonte, Royal Copenhagen, Meissen and Herend”, says Medici, “as well as by the worlds of contemporary art and fashion.” Their one-of-a-kind serveware can incorporate particular patterns or colours, family crests, monograms or bucolic scenes.
What started as a hobby for the two friends 20 years ago has become a thriving Milan-based business that now counts noted decorators, assorted royals and varied private clients among its global clientele. Many are inspired by a visit to the studio, where the duo’s existing collections often provide a starting point for a bespoke design. Signature series include Calligraphario(first picture), Snakes, Circus, Balloons(second picture) and Auto d’Epoca – the latter depicting vintage cars. Others seek out the atelier to fulfil a very specific commission.
So that colours don’t fade, the duo hand-paint or hand-apply serigraphs under glaze. This labour-intensive application process is rare today, but the pair are committed to producing pieces of the highest lustre that are also dishwasher safe and suitable for regular use. In some instances intricate decoration is realised by pressing a dry stamp onto the pieces when they are still soft, with subsequent glazing used to create unusual chiaroscuro effects. In addition to tableware, many of Laboratorio Paravicini’s celadon and gold-trimmed creations (various colour combinations and metallic finishes can be specially mixed) are designed to be displayed in wall mounts as decorative sets.
From coats of arms on plates (from €60) to specialised chinoiserie (€80-€150 per plate) to ashtrays (from €120) featuring the family dog, no request is too outlandish – or too small. Vases embellished with villas and fantastical insects (€180-€300) are a particularly popular request, as are those featuring birds and hunting scenes. Every commission includes a final sample before the larger order goes into production.
Laboratorio Paravicini “takes delight in creating very particular, very personal things,” says Paravicini. “The moment we succeed in designing something that is exactly what our client wants, that’s the greatest achievement.”