Dezeen Magazine

"We are making Wedgwood relevant again" says brand president Ulrik Garde Due

Wedgwood president Ulrik Garde Due discusses his vision to make the British brand – famous for its heritage pottery – appeal to a younger audience, in this movie filmed by Dezeen for Wedgwood.

Wedgwood was founded in 1759 in Stoke-on-Trent, England, by potter Josiah Wedgwood, and went on to become one of the world's leading pottery producers.

The brand is now led by Garde Due, president of the living division of consumer goods company Fiskars, which acquired Wedgwood in 2015. Due's aim is for the company to apply its expertise to contemporary products, as well as its successful heritage ceramics.

Jasperware is one of Wedgwood's most famous product collections, launched in the late 18th century

"We still make a large number of our products here, using the tools and the craftsmanship that was developed more than 200 years ago," he explains in the video, which was filmed at the Stoke-on-Trent factory.

"It is hugely important to us that we ensure the continuation of the craftsmanship that we do here, coming up with new ideas to make it relevant again," he adds.

"How do we make sure that Wedgwood is not only something you think about when you think of your grandparents, but also something that you want to buy into yourself?"

Wedgwood recently teamed up with London designer Lee Broom to reinterpret its Jasperware vases

Since taking on the role in early 2016, Due has overseen a number of initiatives to update and broaden the appeal of the Wedgwood brand for a new generation of consumers.

Earlier this year, Wedgwood teamed up with London designer Lee Broom to create a limited collection of ceramic pieces featuring monochrome stripes and colourful postmodern details.

Broom's designs feature monochrome stripes and colourful detailing, reminiscent of postmodernist design

The pieces are updated versions of Jasperware – one of Wedgwood's most famous product collections. Its pieces feature a type of coloured unglazed stoneware that is usually decorated with white classical reliefs.

"A great example of how we are taking products that were crafted more than 200 years ago into the next century is our work with the talented young British designer Lee Broom," Garde Due says.

"Lee came came in and worked closely with our craftsman to revisit our Jasperware and developed some unique pieces, which are striking in shape and form."

Lee Broom visited the Wedgwood factory in Stoke-on-Trent to work with the craftsmen

Under Due's leadership, Wedgwood is also expanding beyond ceramics to broaden the range of products that it offers.

This year the brand launched a range of teas called Wonderlust, along with an accompanying collection of bone-china teaware.

The teas were unveiled at a series of pop-up Tea Conservatories at Royal Horticultural Society shows including the Chelsea and Chatsworth Flower Shows, which served guests a specially curated menu paired with different teas for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Earlier this year Wedgwood also launched a range of teas and bone china collection called Wonderlust

"We are taking the afternoon tea concept into today's world, with a new tea range together with new fine-bone china," Due says.

"In the Wedgwood spirit of innovation and creativity, we are making Wedgwood relevant in a modern, contemporary lifestyle environment."

The Wonderlust tea collections were launched at pop-up Tea Conservatories at RHS Flower Shows in 2017

Later this week, Wedgwood will launch its first coffee table book. Published by Rizzoli, the book documents the heritage of the brand through a series of full-page photographs, which Garde Due sees as an important way to get people to buy into the brand.

"The first Wedgwood coffee table book will tell the story of Wedgwood and the unique history we have," he says.

"We see an enormous interest when you tell the story about how things are handmade and handcrafted."

Ulrik Garde Due, president of Fiskars Living Division
Ulrik Garde Due, president of Fiskars Living Division. Portrait by Dezeen

Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs will host a panel discussion at the book launch featuring V&A director Tristram Hunt, Lee Broom, Wedgwood senior vice president Eva Ziegler and Wedgwood Museum curator Gaye Blake-Roberts. We will live stream the talk on Dezeen and Facebook from 7.30pm UK time on 18 October.

This movie was filmed at Stoke-on-Trent for Wedgwood. All images are courtesy of Wedgwood, unless specified otherwise.