Handpicked from Ambiente
By : | March 3, 2019


Messe Frankfurt’s Ambiente, a leading annual international trade and luxury fair, the one that sets trends and showcase brands that define lifestyle, just got over in the German city of Frankfurt. And we were there to get you all the action.

Messe Frankfurt, Photo copyright : Messe Frankfurt, Pietro Sutera


Be it products from across a wide ultra-luxe spectrum for discerning retail customer or for hospitality and decor professionals, or as a platform for talented designers, Messe Frankfurt’s Ambiente is considered ‘The Show’ for the entire design and luxury industry. India had the honour of being chosen as the partner country at the fair and the curation of the India Pavilion by Ayush Kasliwal, Design Director, AKED, and Ayush Jaskuwak Design Private Limited, was the talking point of the colossal exhibition. The breadth and width of Ambiente make its unrivalled product showcase unique anywhere in the world. The fair sprawled over 306,500 square metres. Over 85 % of the 136 000 buyers came from outside Germany and represented 166 countries, hugely topping the previous year in blatant defiance of any whispers of global recession.

Nicolette Naumann, Vice President, Ambiente, who has been at the helm of the fair for close to three decades, says that the focus is increasingly on sustainability, environment and the traditional crafts sector. Ambiente sets stringent standards for inclusion of companies in their Ethical Style Guide, which is in its fourth edition with over 200 new submissions from 41 nations and 81 making it to the list for the first time. Naumann has made a mission of scouting out companies and individuals who provide creative and innovative solutions committed to all aspects of sustainability. The jury of eight, all experts in the fields of sustainable production and compliance, set out basic parameters such as resource-friendly production, preservation of traditional manufacturing techniques, and aspects of social care and fairness towards everyone involved in production. The beacons included German Porcelain Manufacturers Kahla and artist Olafur Eliasson & Little Sun,
who runs a social business that brings light into regions where there’s no electric power through solar power.

While a palpably upbeat mood infused Ambiente 2019 as the luxe brands put out their creative best, the dominating discussion revolved around sustainability. Thousands of stall owners were eager to impress their ethical green initiatives on connoisseurs who thronged the fair considered a Mecca for coveted luxury and design products. On display was best of the best: from a Bugatti decanter to a Swarovski-studded jacket in the luxe segment.

But Ambiente 2019 also some very interesting products that were sustainable.  Among them were objects by LIND DNA such as table mats, furniture and utility objects made using recycled leather waste in fun colours. With an edge of almost 80% over virgin plastic, the orthex group’s bio-based kitchen utensils, made from wood drawn from responsibly managed northern forests, were a blend of wood fibre and sugarcane. Japan’s Niigata Industrial Creation Organisation’s (NICO) shoehorns, crafted using paper and natural elements, were beautifully finished products.

Luxury Next handpicks standout classics and trend blazers that fire our imagination from design maisons that are setting new standards by being conscientious in their sourcing and production.

Handpicked from Ambiente

Villeroy & Boch
A leading premium brand for ceramic products, this family business was founded in 1748. The renowned lifestyle brand, headquartered in Mettlach, Germany, offers exceptionally stylish products and has a retail presence in 125 countries. Villeroy’s mastery over tableware expressions cannot be doubted.

Malindi, Villeroy & Boch

A decadent repast looks all the more elegant on their regal bronze collection. The neutral glazed plates tastefully complement the tableware, and are accompanied by matt bronze cutlery and tinted wine glasses. Sweet dreams are indeed made of V & B.

Manufacture Glow – Villeroy & Boch

Their new Australian Aboriginal art rendition on the black porcelain Mountain Rock collection, is another feast conjured up for the delight of luxury consumers. Effected to resemble slate with layers that have an authentic feel, the collection is embossed with tiny red and white dots. It includes a floral series, as well as one that pays a brilliant obeisance to Indian pepper.


The first European hard-paste porcelain (a ceramic material that was originally made from a compound of the feldspathic rock petuntse and kaolin, fired at very high temperature, usually around 1400 °C) manufacturer, established at the beginning of the 18th century, draws its name from the German town of Meissen. The legend’s signature logo, the crossed swords, is one of the oldest trademarks in existence. The pride that Meissen takes in its creations is their unspoken brand identity.

Meissen’s installation at Ambiente19, ‘The flock of birds’, was its dedication to creativity and freedom of mind. The monumental mural covered six individual walls and was an expression of the brand’s mastery in the timeless world of porcelain. Meissen had 15 in-house painters working on the installation for over seven days. Tipped at having cost half-a-million euros, this masterpiece will roost at the Meissen headquarters once the fair is over.

The maison also had a bird series of objets d’art on display at the fair as the ultimate tribute to the skills of MEISSEN’s artists. Seventy avian figurines from this installation have been rendered to life on embossed pearly backdrop of tableware, curios and mug collection, which forms a precursor to their 2020 Limited Masterworks and was on display at the fair.

Monkey wine bottle stopper

MEISSEN’s three monkey wine bottle stoppers in this luxe collection will add an element of fun to your table and dining experience.

Nude spells elegance, simplicity and beauty. Founded as recently as 2014, its vision of becoming a global design brand is fast becoming a reality. To quote the Nude spokesperson, “Our belief is less is more and form works best when it meets function, which ultimately makes for good design.” Nude has collaborated with some of the leading lights in fashion and design. The inspirational 97-year-young Iris Apfel, a fashion icon, interior designer and businesswoman has designed her own tableware collection in collaboration with Nude.

Sebastian Herkner

Sebastian Herkner, who runs an eponymous design studio, has collaborated with the brand on a new series that packs in volume and colour. It is inspired by the Earth Pyramids that rise from the Ritten plateau in northern Italy. But the design that we are cheering for is Ron Arad’s Concentrics, which is best defined as ‘seductive transparency that defines malleability’. The four-piece set of nesting bowls and vases have been hand-blown using an artisan process called cesm-i bulbul, which originated in Istanbul. Artisans fuse slender strips of colored glass into the clear body of each container.


Classic handmade crystal can be best described as ‘exquisite and eternal’. Målerås, Sweden’s finest brand, draws inspiration from virgin forests and nature for their collection. Each piece is a work of art. Their pendant are sheer magic. This year, Målerås uses the pig motif on its pieces to coincide with the Chinese ‘Year of the Pig’. But what set my Indian heart aflutter is a gorgeous peacock crystal sculpture, the best tribute there can be to India’s national bird.


Way before it was talked about globally, green conscience had infused most of Sweden’s
design and other industries. No surprises then that Sweden’s bio-based kitchen utensils
from the country’s lush and pristine northern forests make it to our list. Made from sweet-
smelling wood fibre (spruce and sugarcane) and bioplastic, the carbon footprint of the
range is 80% lower than that of virgin plastic products. Long lasting, the product range
goes from cheese slicers to spatulas, potato peelers and more. The designers combine
the natural look of wood with functional properties of plastic. The product can also be

Le Creuset

Ultra-violet is the colour of the season, according to Le Creuset. Their lavender salt and
pepper shakers are a class apart. The brand also put out a vast collection of cast iron and
stoneware cookware to bring a touch of elegant, yet hardy beauty to your kitchen.


Tilted glass Durobar

In the midst of all the action was this gem of brand, which claims to reinvent glass everyday. They put out ingeniously crafted glasses to meet emerging trends — tilted glasses you can eat off, or a glass to match every beer to highlight the craft beer heritage. At the fair, Durobor seemed popular for more than their trendy products—their vivacious barmaid shook up an Aperol, Proseco and Orange combo on a bed of ice to demonstrate the width of the glass base specially created for the drink.

Over its 135-year-long existence, Rosenthal has developed a wide range of exquisite porcelain products. Tipped with monograms, decadent rims and delicate detailing, the color and luminosity of their products is considered indestructible even after several years. Rosenthal has entered into a top-of-the-line collaboration with Versace for the ultra-luxe Medusa collection. The brand works with leading artists and designers from across the globe. At Ambiente 2019, Rosenthal also put out a range by Bethan Laura Wood. Bethan herself was present and painted a picture of joy at the Rosenthal stall. Trust us when we tell you that this lady knows how to cull kettles into masterpieces. On the one end of the spectrum we had warm colours that work a glorious matt finish within restrained lines for design; on the other end, her astute play with crisp curves in white were

Royal Delft
It was a matter of pride in the 17th century to own ‘The Original Blue’ — or the Royal Delft Blue, which was entirely hand-painted according to centuries-old traditions. The brand is the last of the famous earthernware designer in The Netherlands. In tribute to its artisans, Delft introduced ‘Proud Mary’. The interactive figurine is named after Mary Stuart II a great admirer and collector of Deft Blue in the Dutch Golden Age. Royal Delft’s contemporary intervention lets connoisseurs assemble four parts to create a bespoke figurine in a range of colours. Royal Delft has planned a tour to introduce the figurine ‘Proud Mary’ across the globe. Quite a journey from its original inspiration from the Chinese porcelain expression. The price for the Proud Mary ensemble starts at Euro 7500 upwards


Soy cocktail shaker in Silver and Bronze

Newcomer Soy has captured the imagination of the design trend researchers at Ambiente. They put out what is probably the most expensive frypan in the world, coated with the purest form of silver and copper possible and costing EUR 4600. The brand’s collection also had copper and pure silver bar sets that needs you to shake up the drink just once for a foamy concoction. While the Turkish brand had made quite an impression with veterans at Frankfurt, the brand also has a loyal clientele back home.

Serax believes that perfection lies in being slightly imperfect. Their uneven tableware intentionally has a hardy handmade finish and is very earthy. The designs are by the founding brothers’ Serge and Axel. But the brand has also collaborated with founder ceramic artist Roos van de Velde, whose tableware collection is the toast of finedine restaurants across the world. Today, Serax is the number one brand used by Michelin chefs, who depend on them for creative porcelain and ceramics that enhance the aesthetics of their dishes.


Stelton – Vacuum bottle opener  in brass

In a class of its own is Stelton, a Scandinavian design company that is considered a significant force within the interior design industry, since its inception in 1960. Drawing inspiration from Scandinavia’s refined tradition, Stelton has reinforced its design aesthetic through a collaboration with international architects and designers. Their classic metal Cylinda-line is in its 50th year and is celebrated for its seamless, cylindrical forms made from stainless steel. The handles are crafted from Bakelite.


Zieher stands for innovative design in the field of home, living and office. With a major presence in the horeca (hospitality, restaurant and catering) segment, the range comprising about 1200 items is also retailed in over 90 countries. Zieher’s tagline for their beautiful wine glasses reads, “You have never seen wine like this!” and you believe them. Their new collection of six wine glasses have been aptly monikered after matching their functionality with the wine that will be served in them: Fresh, Nostalgic, Balanced, Straight, Intense and Rich.

Joanne Pereira, based in Mumbai, India, began as a writer for over three decades ago. She brings to the table her understanding of the hospitality industry having looked after Public Relations for leading Hotels like The Leela and Oberoi Hotels Mumbai. She also carries with her an insight into corporate functioning having been the Corporate Communications Manager for Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., one of India's leading automobile conglomerates. Joanne has over the last decade been writing in the luxury lifestyle space, destinations, travel and food.