Costa Verde: How we proceed with a brand-new porcelain collection

Costa Verde is a porcelain manufacturer I have had the pleasure of designing for the past 17 years, as a partner of Studio Levien. Together we have built up a strong and trusting relationship and we let each other do what we each do best.

A project always starts with a design brief but not a very long and formal one. We talk and work out between us a direction and which part of the market we are aiming for, formal or casual for example.

Then we start work in our Studio in London. We sit together as a full team of 5 or 6 and sketch ideas on paper, then one or two of the designers will get on to their computer and start making simple outline drawings.

Once we have agreed the drawings the designers go into our workshop and start modelling up the key items from the range in foam, we call these sketch models.

At Studio Levien we make models of everything we design. Sometimes we will make 3 or 4 models before we think we have got the design right.

Then we prepare our Design Concepts presentation, usually an A3 bound book which starts with the brief, then has images of the inspiration behind our ideas, we like to tell the story of our designs.

The presentation includes photos of our models or CAD renders and as we turn the pages we present the models so at the end all the key items from the proposed range are on the table. Hopefully Costa Verde like our design concepts and want to develop them.


Costa Verde: From the first approach to the final result!

To develop a brand-new collection is never straightforward though and nor should it be. There is a lot of discussion even some arguments but we always come to an agreement about the next steps which is often for us to make some changes and therefore more models. These changes can be for technical, or aesthetic reasons. Then we have to wait for the first samples, which can be five or six weeks.

Porcelain is very difficult to produce; it helps to be a masochist! Porcelain never does exactly what you want it to do and it is very rare for the first samples to be perfect. We write detailed Sample Evaluation Reports on the samples and more pieces are made. It’s not uncommon for 3 even 4 samples to be made before we approve a design.

This is a painful and expensive process but Costa Verde, like us believe that small changes make a big difference. We work our way through all the items in the proposed range in this way until it is complete.

Then we help Costa Verde to produce the promotional material for the design including images for the brochure and the website. We look back to our first presentation and tell the story of the design.

This development process always takes about a year which normally ends in February at Ambiente where we launch the design.


It doesn’t matter to our customers that they know how much effort goes into developing a tableware range, all that matters is that they like it but we know that it is the love and care that Studio Levien and Costa Verde put into the designs that will make them a success.


Robin Levien

Studio Levien Partner



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