In 1967, the Lladró brothers purchased a small porcelain factory very close to the city of Valencia, Spain and began collaborating with the best local porcelain artisans. A new style was born, with the staff being trained specifically for that purpose, leading to the first creations commercialized under the name Rosal. The modeling of these figurines were full of charm and innocence, two features that have been lovingly maintained in the subsequent evolution.
Rosal created pieces with themes that would endure as the brand evolved, focusing primarily on a life full of romanticism in an undefined idyllic time.
Following the success of the new brand, the next step came in 1975. The name of the collection changed to ZAPHIR and the factory moved to new premises with larger workshops, and The intention of expanding the Company in the future. ZAPHIR creations were more stylized and embraced a wider variety of themes. They were the natural result of the porcelain mastery gained by the young artisans.
The popularity of the brand in the USA spread rapidly, confirming it as an Internationally renowned brand. This led the Lladró brothers to search for a different business name and to work towards introducing themselves into other international markets. NAO Borrowed its name from the old sailing boats from the time of Columbus, and symbolizes a return journey to origins, conveying creativity, skill and magic. This is how the dream Of the Lladró brothers came into being, making porcelain figurines affordable for lovers of beauty.
Today, the Lladró brothers' original small workshop has now become a corporation where hundreds of artists work everyday, producing creations which are sold all over the world.
How NAO Figurines Are Made
Expert hands are required to translate moments from life into the beautiful figures that make up the NAO Collection. This is why NAO porcelains are produced by veteran craftsmen in the company’s own local workshops near Valencia, Spain. The NAO Collection comprises almost three hundred figurines and is continuously renovated as new creations are added to the catalogue every year. These figurines give NAO designers and artisans a wonderful chance to demonstrate their creativity, a feature highly appreciated by the many NAO collectors worldwide.
It all begins with an original design. NAO creations are inspired by life itself, and it is here that they find a gesture defining a moment of happiness, that is then shaped into a beautiful memory.
NAO artisans transform the initial sketch into a clay figurine, stamping their own personal touch on the character, distilling charm and expressiveness.
The technical team studies the sketch and divides it into many fragments which are used to reproduce the sculpture through various molds in a complex process.
The molds are filled with liquid porcelain, and once the mixture is set, the fragments shaping the figurine are carefully removed. Then, the various fragments are assembled by NAO artisans using liquid porcelain.
The figurines are hand painted by specialized artists before they are fired. The pigments are applied depending on the final coloring after the firing and varnishing process.
Once they are varnished, the pieces are fired for 24 hours in a special kiln.
The creations are then ready to captivate the hearts of thousands o of people all over the world.