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Designing for The Ritz

Following The Ritz London's collaboration with industry leader William Edwards Professional, William Edwards discusses the partnership and how the afternoon teaware collection came to be.

With a passion for shape, design and traditional British craftsmanship, Stoke-on-Trent based William Edwards Professional, boasts its own design studio and printing facilities, a highly experienced decorating team, and is renowned for manufacturing and decorating bespoke bone china for the world's most discerning restaurants, hotels, clubs, retailers and royal palaces.

This includes collaborating with Michelin-star chefs like Brett Graham and Tom Kerridge, and with clients such as The Dorchester, The Café Royal, Claridge's, Harrods and Blenheim Palace, among others. "At William Edwards Professional, we have a deep understanding of the quality aspirations for the five-star community and luxury hotels, both here in the UK and around the world," says William Edwards, founder and owner.

"With our highly qualified design team we deliver bespoke chinaware at the pace and quality that not many can match. Our branding is a fresh alternative to the older, established brands."

For the last decade, William Edwards Professional has been working with The Ritz London on various collections, most recently creating the five-star hotel's teaware for its world-famous afternoon tea service.

William Edwards tells us more about the collaboration. "We have had a very longstanding and special relationship with The Ritz London, one of our very first hospitality clients in London.

As industry leaders in developing bespoke designed chinaware for luxury hotels, we were the primary choice for this collaboration. We offer world-class design, quality production and hand decorating, and with our base in Stoke-on-Trent we encourage clients to visit us, especially if they wish to be involved in every single step of the process, which for The Ritz London, was very important."

Along with The Ritz London's new Palm Court teaware collection, we also produce the Turquoise collection that is used in the main restaurant, and the floral Forget Me Not collection for in-room dining.

The initial brief for the afternoon teaware collection was to replace the existing teaware, which had been in service for a number of years, with a new and fresh collection to enhance the world-class service. With The Ritz London internationally regarded as the premier destination for afternoon tea, they had exacting standards about what they wanted and were incredibly hands-on throughout the entire design and development process.

While William Edwards Professional provided the creative and design influence, along with technical skills in shape design, printing techniques and hand decorating, The Ritz London provided John Williams, who's worked as the executive chef for over 14 years.

As we offer a bespoke service, we took the time to understand the provenance of The Ritz London and The Palm Court, in order to produce a number of unique designs and work alongside the team to ensure each detail was correct.

The design for the teaware collection was inspired by the architecture in The Palm Court, specifically the ornate latticework on the ceiling. Taking this inspiration, we created multiple design proposals to present to The Ritz London.

As the project developed, John Williams visited our factory in Stoke-on-Trent and personally selected the colours, shapes and exclusive techniques that he, along with the help of our design team, felt were most appropriate for the afternoon teaware. The unique element of the design was the inclusion of a subtle mint green mica material, which enhanced the shape and the design of the teaware via a very soft sheen. Gold trim was then added to reflect the opulence of The Ritz London. The result is a design that looks quite simplistic, yet delivers a luxury and contemporary feel.

There are 13 pieces including tea cups and saucers, espresso cups and saucers side plates, cake stands, serving trays and jam and sugar pots.

The greatest challenge was to ensure that the new afternoon tea collection bridged the gap between the wonderful classic DNA of The Ritz London and The Palm Court, while simultaneously providing a contemporary twist to ensure the collection complemented the world-famous afternoon tea experience."

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