- Dubai Mall, Dubai, UAE
Villeroy & Boch Dubai Mall – Francois Boch bears the title “Bombardier du Roi”, royal cannon founder. The iron founder from village of Audun-le-Tiche in Lorraine, however, decides to start a new career. In 1748, together with his three sons, he begins manufacturing ceramic crockery. This marks the birth of the Villeroy & Boch company.
Luxembourg is one of the Bochs’ initial sales markets. Due to this fact Francois’ son, Pierre-Joseph, submits a request to the Austrian government for permission to set up a manufactory in the Province of Luxembourg. Of the numerous persons who apply, he receives authorisation from Empress Maria Theresia. The new factory at Septfontaines/Luxembourg is also a major step from manufactory operations to early industrial serial production. As a sign of special recognition, the Faiencerie is permitted to call itself “Manufacture Impériale et Royale”.
Popular around the world, the “Alt Luxemburg” crockery series is a Villeroy & Boch evergreen. It dates back to the “Brindille” pattern which was introduced by Pierre-Joseph in 1770. The creatively gifted entrepreneur fashioned a series of artistic ceramic items such as, for example a rocaille hanging flowerpot or a crucifix base with snake symbol – both exhibits are to be found in the Mettlach Ceramics Museum.
Together with two partners, the businessman Nicolas Villeroy acquires an earthenware factory in Vaudrevange, which is today called Wallerfangen. In 1797 he becomes its sole owner. Villeroy is one of the first ceramics manufacturers to use coal as fuel. He calls in specialists from England and France to modernise production. Above all, he experiments with pattern printing. From 1815 he applies the copper printing process which enables products to be offered more cheaply.
Jean-François Boch buys the former Benedictine abbey in Mettlach on the River Saar. In the baroque building he sets up a highly-modern, extensively mechanised system of tableware production. He designs many of the production machines himself. His inventions smooth the way for manual ceramic manufacture to be replaced by industrial production. Today, the baroque building is the corporate headquarters of Villeroy & Boch.
As an entrepreneur Pierre-Joseph is one of the social pioneers of the early 19th century. He founds the social institution “Antonius Guild” in Septfontaines. Its fundamental elements are insurance to cover illness, accidents, and disability, and also a pension fund. It is a comprehensive social insurance to which both employees and the company pay contributions. “Antonius Guild” benefits were considerably more extensive than those which later became law. They served as a model for Bismarck 70 years later when he elaborated the first German social insurance scheme. In 1857 Nicolas Villeroy’s daughter Leonie and her husband Adolphe de Galhau set up the “Sophie Trust” to support families in need.
While the 2nd Boch generation achieved an optimised product quality by experimenting with materials, the 3rd generation made a decisive leap with Jean-Francois Boch. Trained at the Ecole de Sciences in Paris, the entrepreneur successfully developed a type of earthenware which was bright white and extremely hard. It looked deceptively like porcelain, but could be supplied considerably cheaper. This path democratised tableware. As a result of that early innovation, porcelain – the previously rare and costly, precious treasure reserved solely for the nobility – could now be afforded by broad classes of society. The products are not only well-accepted on the market, but also officially. At the first Prussian trade exhibition in Berlin in 1822, the Bochs receive the gold medal, which will be followed by many national and international awards.
The factories of the entrepreneurs Boch and Villeroy are not far away from each other. Now and again the two competitors, who successfully market their products beyond Germany’s borders, even meet. But in order to exist in Europe’s economic framework, above all alongside the dominating English industry, the two conclude a merger agreement. Villeroy & Boch is born. It combines the strengths of both sides: creative talent, entrepreneurial spirit, innovative power and production capacity, and is one of the 19th century’s first Global Players.
The full-range concept – today an integral element of the corporate strategy – can be traced well back into the 19th century. In 1843 Villeroy and Boch set up the Cristallerie in Wadgassen. An attractive product range extension: by producing glasses the company was able to round off its crockery range, thus improving its market opportunities both in Germany and abroad. Every German town received regular supplies. From 1847 larger consignments were sent to Paris, Warsaw and London. A new connection to the Mannheim railway junction facilitated export to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Distribution was also extended to Scandinavia, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey. From around 1850 the first consignments were sent across the Atlantic to North and South America.
The Prussian Minister for Economic Affairs chooses Villeroy & Boch to take part in the famous World Exhibition in London. On a magnificently presented stand the company displayed innovative everyday crockery and decorative ceramic items made of bone china and elaborately decorated stoneware. London was the start of a series of prestigious appearances at the great World Exhibitions of the 19th and early 20th century, such as in Philadelphia in 1876, Paris in 1878 and 1900, Chicago in 1893, St. Petersburg in 1901 and St. Louis in 1904.
Many a good idea for the present can be won from the wealth held by history. When archaeologists came across a Roman floor mosaic in the vicinity of Mettlach, Eugen von Boch was entrusted with its restoration. Inspired by this archaeological find, he and his technicians began experimenting with material for tile manufacture. They develop a production process which combines tremendous wear resistance with a sensationally beautiful appearance. Manufactured in Mettlach since 1852, these tiles achieve great success throughout the world under the name of “Mettlacher Platten”. Demand is so great that a factory specialised in tile manufacture was built in 1866 – the “Mosaic factory”. In 1879 Villeroy & Boch takes over a further factory in Merzig which develops into the largest manufacturer of floor tiles anywhere in the world.
Eugen von Boch (4th Boch generation) recognised exactly where the markets of tomorrow were located. He set up the earthenware factory in Dresden, so as to be able to open up new export markets in the north and east of Europe more easily and supply them better from here. Production was originally geared to crockery, but was extended only a short time later to include tiled stoves. The greatest contribution to the Dresden factory’s reputation was made by the special department for shop interiors, after production of tiles had also been assumed here. The most famous example is the “Dresdner Milchladen” (Dresden Dairy), which is today one of the city’s greatest tourist attractions. With its hand-worked and hand-painted tiles, the café at the Mettlach Ceramics Museum is an almost authentic version of this historic dairy.
The Supervisory Board of Villeroy & Boch AG has appointed Dr. Markus Warncke to the Management Board of Villeroy & Boch AG as Chief Financial Officer, effective from 1 January 2015. He thus succeeds Jörg Wahlers, who left the organisation in spring 2014. Dr. Warncke has been with Villeroy & Boch AG since 2001. He is now the Management Board member responsible for the areas of finance, taxes, IT, procurement, property and internal audit.