The brainchild of a 32-year-old Parisienne with formidable energy and a keenly honed eye, Atelier Courbet, an entrancing new 2,700-square-foot space in Manhattan’s NoLIta, is part showcase for the world’s master craftsmen and part gallery, featuring rotating exhibits and guest artisans. Founder Melanie Courbet studied anthropology and communications in France and then became a design consultant and art curator for private clients. She worked on projects with furniture designer Dror Benshetrit, architect Thom Mayne and businesses (like Cappellini) in Paris, Los Angeles and New York; she also initiated collaborations with Christie’s and the Louvre.
The seven-month-old Atelier Courbet is housed in the Brewster Carriage House building, a 19th-century workshop for coach makers that’s been painstakingly restored.Placing her shop in a location steeped in heritage deepened Courbet’s self-described mission “to shift the focus from design to craftsmanship, to make us more sensitive to the provenance of what we consume.”
To this end, she has sourced an extraordinary array of objects—whimsical leather furniture from Domeau & Pérès (formerly of Hermès); handwoven textiles from Hosoo, a Kyoto-based company founded in 1688; ceramics from Sèvres; seamless wooden furniture by Nakagawa Mokkougei; and ingenious silver pieces from Puiforcat—from her travels in France, Japan, Italy, Holland and Germany. Everything comes with a story, many of the pieces are one of a kind, limited editions or exclusive to Courbet, like the works of Domeau & Pérès, which cannot be bought anywhere else in the United States. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a hard time tearing yourself away. Atelier Courbet is at 175/177 Mott St.; 212-226-7378; ateliercourbet.com.
Pictured: 24-karat-gold and bronze Coppa della Mistica cup ($12,500) by Milanese designer Michele De Lucchi.