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About 240km southwest of Berlin in the province of Thuringia is the village of ­Reichenbach, a dot on a porcelain producing route running from Bavaria through eastern Germany. Here, in an old factory with highly trained craftspeople, owner Stefanie Hering produces her eponymous line of crockery and other porcelain creations. “I transport old know-how into the 21st century,” says the jovial, matter-of-fact master potter and innovative businesswoman.

Hering, along with partner and fellow potter Wiebke Lehmann, established her first workshop in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg in 1992. At the time, she wasn’t sure she’d make it this far. “I’d studied ceramics and design for nine years. So I gave myself a year to see whether I could make a living with it,” says the Stuttgart native. After showing and selling early pieces at trade fairs, the answer was a resounding yes. Along the way, Hering designed for larger manufacturers such as Bernardaud in France or Rosenthal in Germany, collecting design prizes as she went.

In 1999, the company incorporated (Lehmann is now COO; Hering’s husband, Götz Esslinger, an architect, is also a partner) and started working closely with the Reichenbach porcelain factory to ­increase production capacity. By 2004 Hering was ready to hone its image with a new focus on tableware. The resulting collection launched in 2005. Hering is often inspired by bad design. “I think of how to do things better; how to turn old things on their heads,” she says. “After all, we don’t eat like we did 100 years ago."

Hering Berlin has fast become a major independent name in the porcelain industry. The attraction comes from clear, elegant forms, many made using Hering’s trademark bisque porcelain (white unglazed ceramic). Its silky, matt surfaces are only partially glazed, and polished using a sponge with a rough diamond surface. Their products have caught the eye of not only people in the design world but also top restaurateurs (Guy Savoy in Paris and the French Laundry in the US). Textural stripes and perforated surfaces are other design signatures. Machines help in the early production phases but the decorative and finishing processes are done by hand. Using some (non-automated) machines allows for uniformity and higher quantities; the production method is unusual in the industry and produces some of the toughest porcelain on the market.

Back in the leafy streets of Berlin’s Wannsee district is the Hering Berlin showroom. On the ground floor of a single house is not only the display area but also the offices (production, including the kiln, was once here, too). On the upper floors Hering lives with her husband and two daughters. Hering Berlin recently expanded into glassware as well as a line of table textiles and long-term plans include a shop and a cutlery line. “People had forgotten how things are made, but I think for many, there’s a renewed interest in craft,” she says. “With us, form and function add value to each other.” heringberlin.com

The perfect: Pencil case

Hot desking, Global

Sharp minds require sharp pencils – and a good stationery collection. Our selection includes a Poppin highlighter that doesn’t smudge notes and a Kokuyo eraser from Japan that doesn’t rip the paper. And light travellers will like to carry the Itoya black ink pen in a burgundy leather case handmade by Florentine artisan Giuseppe Fanara.

The process

  1. Making cakes
    Bisque porcelain takes more than 80 stages to create. First step: raw mass is stirred in vats, then made into cakes and squeezed to remove air.

  2. Bisque effects
    After the forms have been spun, sponged and dried, a craftsperson paints on shellac before firing. This allows for the signature striped texture.

  3. The details
    In the factory's next hall, a three-person team glazes, dusts, and stamps the pieces before they are fired again.

  4. Patterns and finishing
    The decorative and finishing processes are done by hand.

The perfect pencil case

Hot desking

Sharp minds require sharp pencils – and a good stationery collection. Our selection includes a Poppin highlighter that doesn’t smudge notes and a Kokuyo eraser from Japan that doesn’t rip the paper. And light travellers will like to carry the Itoya black ink pen in a burgundy leather case handmade by Florentine artisan Giuseppe Fanara.

  1. Wooden paperclips, em-holzprodukte.de
  2. Ruler, poppin.com
  3. Handmade leather case, ilbussettofirenze.com
  4. Recycled ballpoint pen, poppin.com
  5. Black ink pen, ito-ya.co.jp
  6. Highlighter, poppin.com
  7. Zebrano wood clutch pencil, em-holzprodukte.de
  8. Ruled notebook, poppin.com
  9. Kamoi masking tape, masking-tape.jp
  10. M+R brass sharpener, moebius-ruppert.com
  11. Eraser, laeufer-gutenberg.de
  12. Coccoina almond-scented glue, coccoina.it
  13. Regur 64 stapler, dr-gold.com
  14. Plastic eraser, kokuyo.co.jp
  15. Pill pins, poppin.com
  16. Lead pencil, koh-i-noor.cz, rsvp-berlin.de
  17. Lead pencil (black), koh-i-noor.cz, rsvp-berlin.de
  18. Golf 1100 pencil, rsvp-berlin.de

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