Home-made: Soendgen Keramik gives an insight into product development

Press breakfast in the SK showroom – with the design team and creative ideas for new trade fair product “Delphi”

In the new SK showroom, which was opened on July 13th, everything is going according to plan. The roughly 600 square meters of floor space plays host to the entirety of the current indoor/outdoor range, and is also used for events, workshops and speeches on the latest trends. Such as recently, when the management of Soendgen Keramik invited the press to breakfast. The focus of the morning was primarily on trend and product development at SK. The in-house design team surprised with an interesting view behind the scenes. For example the “Delphi” – a series which gives a modern interpretation to the traditional concave cachepot and was the highlight of the IPM 2019 with its captivatingly elegant relief – the representatives from the press could get an exclusive insight into the ideas and development process of a new product at Soendgen Keramik.

It starts with inspiration

Give the imagination free rein and be inspired, then the ideas will flow out of creative minds. It doesn’t exactly work that way though, because there are limits on artistic freedom when it comes to developing a marketable product. Therefore, inspiration first follows rational considerations: consumer demand and the retailers’ requirements, popular plants, design trends in terms of shape, color and surface, developments in the market, etc. This is based on visits to trade fairs and store checks, the involvement of trade agencies and – very “uncreatively” – the use of statistics. Only then does the approach emerge for briefing and brainstorming. In what direction should the new development go, what requirements need to be fulfilled?

An essential part of finding ideas: a good fit for the plants

The briefing for the creative process is then surprisingly simple and matter-of-fact. “Traditional series which consider current market trends and good fit properties” – like with the new Delphi product. Now the designer is asked to give a classic design a fresh new touch! Items from various departments and eras are brought together in Moodboards, suggestions are collected and put down on paper, like ideas on the shape of the new vessel, always adapted to the growing pots of the plant. After that, the next, no less creative step is to design the matching relief variants, one of Soendgen Keramik’s core skills. This is assessed by an internal committee which decides on the next step: rendering. Computer graphics and three-dimensional virtual imagery are made from sketches. Before the ideas and implementation phase begins, there is one more step which is “a science in its own right”: the color concept.

Colors – the first eye-catcher of the design

Colors are a primary means of expressing trends, since colors draw attention first – before form, material or structure. Delphi follows the new living trend of wabi-sabi, which creates a sense of cosiness with the beauty of the imperfect. The interior is shaped by natural, authentic, even “honest” materials. This is what ceramics are all about. In keeping with the wabi-sabi style, “blue-gray” and “warm-gray” colors have been chosen for “Delphi”. The container design is dominated by the nuances “amber” and “antique green”, chosen as they are inspired by traditional tiled ovens, which exude warmth and snugness and evoke age-old values and memories. The gloss level “high-gloss” impressively shows off the line relief.

Start of technical implementation

The product implementation stage starts with the quality specification, and thus the question of whether the draft can be implemented with the SK brand image and all the requirements that are typical of SK. Here, the design team works closely with the model-making department. A gypsum core is produced, furnished with a certain relief and the first cast is created with liquid clay – a sample is created that is very close to the possible end result of the production. This serves as a model to present to the SK management, marketing and sales departments, but it is also presented to the retail partners. If the reaction to it is positive, tests are carried out until it is ready for production – series production begins.

Other new products also impress

As well as the SK IPM highlight Delphi and the insight into the product development stage, the press also took a look at some of the latest products which have been added to the product range since early last fall. They were presented with some rollable presentation tables developed by SK. The focus once again was on the best-selling orchids. Its elegance was gently emphasized with Atlanta Pastell; the Atlanta vase stands out with its fine, glassy-looking surface and floating lightness thanks to its recessed foot. The floral designs of Dallas Blossom and hand-drawn watercolor motifs on Dallas Hearts invigorate the springtime business. In the outdoors segment, the “Terracotta Rubbed” color tone has been added to the successful Modena series, in keeping with the contemporary cottage style.

About Soendgen Keramik

For decades, Soendgen Keramik GmbH has been synonymous with high quality ceramic vessels “made in Germany”. The company offers a wide range of perfectly formed products in over 50 designs, 60 colors and 50 sizes that are manufactured in line with the latest trends. The long-established German company was founded by Johann Peter Söndgen in Wachtberg-Adendorf in 1893 and is now represented in over 70 countries throughout the world. Whether indoors or out, the company offers the perfect ceramic vessel for every taste and requirement to show off your plants to their very best.