KPM is a Berlin based manufacturer. A KPM piece is instantly recognizable by its delicate composition, the blue sceptre logo and prices that will make coffee (or whatever you are drinking) shoot out of your nose. Yes, to quote the rude blond shop assistant in Pretty Woman “it’s very expensive”. This is the antithesis of globalization and how everything is made in China (or these days,Vietnam). German, with a tradition going back 250 years, KPM boasts 7 Kings as proprietors.
I did a double take when I saw the prime piece of real estate the KPM factory was sitting on. With the development fever that is typical of Berlin, I would have assumed that the whole operation would have been moved to the suburbs and this location been transformed into lofts and penthouses. It was snatched from the jaws of bankrupcy 5 years ago, by a wealthy individual with aspirations to restore it to its previous glory and noteriety. In former times, Kings and aristocrats all had their own house patterns (on display at KPM’s museum). In fact Napoleon had this one made for Josephine (purple one on the left).
The museum on site is really worth a visit. Its thoroughly modern architecture, and well designed displays go through the entire porcelain manufacturing process with strong visual aids. There is a tongue in cheek section which has different artists interpreting German fairy tales through the use of KPM’s porcelain. This one is for the Princess and the Pea.
Another section has a mock-up of how the porcelain is painted. You know how? With people, real ones. Using the tiniest of paint brushes in freestyle miniature (they don’t use stencils). They are all talented enough to rival Nicholas Hilliard but instead of their own gigs they are doing this. Money must be good, right? I asked how they get such talented people? Answer: Every year 50 students apply, they take one or two of the best and those are honed into superb miniaturists.
Afterwards be sure to go upstairs and drool over the pieces in the shop. Although, even if I had the money to buy a KPM set, I feel like I would need to seriously upgrade to a posher lifestyle to justify such dishes.
If you just want a taste of the fancy life, then have a coffee at the KPM cafe.
Last note, that courtyard – something should be done with it. It just begs for a summer food festival, with paper lights fluttering overhead. Do you see it too? Like a Taste of London Festival (but in Berlin obviously).
Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin GmbH
D – 10623 Berlin Opening hours:
Monday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm
Last entry is at 5:15 pm.
Admission: 8 €
Reduced: 5 € (children ages 13-18, students, persons with a disability (50% or above))
Children 12 years or younger accompanied by an adult: free
Tours (should be booked in advance): 10 € per person