Have you noticed that most of the high street shops, including supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsburys are full of gorgeous, what appears to be china, but is in fact Melamine. I was so curious as to why this could be, that I sent out a questionnaire to some of the buyers and designers. The only one who has got back to me so far is Laura Ashley, so thank you and below are the answers.
Laura Ashley Spring summer 2017 Melamine plate with a fresh green outside feel to the design.
Until recently Melamine had rather a poor reputation but that appears to have changed over the last couple of years. High street stores are now selling melamine plates trays and cups with really interesting and varied new designs and the quality of the product feels better, weightier and as though it will last for longer. What has made this change?
I think lifestyle changes are a factor here, at Laura Ashley we have talked a lot recently about people wanting to enjoy experiences, especially shared experiences. So entertaining, particularly informally, outside has grown in popularity. We have seen success with our outdoor entertaining and picnic ranges.
Is it being made from something different?
Not sure about the technicalities of product production but have noticed that there are a number of different styles that are giving melamine a more ‘realistic’ look and feel. Either with replicating a terracotta finish or uneven surfaces that that have the effect of something being ‘hand made’.
Can it be washed in a dishwasher?
Yes but not microwavable
Where has the inspiration for the designs come from?
We develop designs that we want our customers to enjoy, so we think carefully about where and how the product might be used. Not necessarily looking at a melamine version of a ceramic range, our ranges are designed in their own right. In keeping with a more casual way of living and the importance of entertaining, we think the designs should have a sense of fun and bring a smile to you face when you get them out.
Melamine is still a more affordable product than china.
Marks and Spencer Spring Summer 2017 Melamine from the Frida Range This punchy and quirky floral range of melamine is inspired by the folk art feel of Frida Kahlo’s work.
Anthropologie Spring Summer 2017 This range of plates has a strong Morocco Vibe with the design giving more than a nod to Moroccan tile design.
Oliver Bonas Spring Summer 2017 Melamine tray with stylized leaf and stripe design.
Sainsburys Spring summer 2017 trays and plates with a nautical theme.