Waterford Crystal Opens Factory, Visitor Center in Ireland
Waterford Crystal recently celebrated the official opening of the House of Waterford Crystal in Waterford, Ireland.
The new facility comprises a manufacturing facility, visitor center and retail outlet and is the result of an agreement between WWRD Holdings Limited, which owns and operates the Waterford Crystal, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton brands, and Waterford City Council.
"Today represents the culmination of a huge amount of hard work on the part of WWRD, its owners--KPS Capital Partners--and Waterford City Council to get this project off the ground," said Pierre de Villemejane, chief executive officer of WWRD. "We are extremely proud of the House of Waterford Crystal, and its commitment to quality, heritage and cutting-edge design represents everything that this brand stands for. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to our new center and to continuing the city of Waterford's extraordinary tradition of producing crystal of the very highest quality."
The House of Waterford Crystal will employ 90 full-time staff and a further 30-40 temporary staff during peak season, and will annually produce around 40,000 handcrafted, high-end pieces using traditional methods. It will also act as a laboratory of sorts for Waterford designers.
The manufacturing facility contains a brand new continuous-melt tank furnace that will produce two tons of molten crystal every day for skilled master blowers to hand-shape and hand-blow Waterford Crystal's products. All aspects of the manufacturing process will be fully accessible to visitors, who will learn about both historical and contemporary production techniques through direct interaction with the craftsmen and from audiovisual materials. In addition, the onsite retail center will represent the largest display of Waterford Crystal anywhere in the world.