‘My interest in product design is second to my interest in solving problems with design, at whatever scale that may be,’ says Cece, a New York-based architect who had a frustrating problem: ‘How to transport my architectural drawing and models in carryalls that matched my minimal style and reflected the love I put into the work.’ In response, she created Atelier YUL, a minimal accessories brand for creatives who need to carry around their sometimes unconventionally sized and shaped materials.
Cece, a nickname her grandfather gave her, is the name she prefers to use in relation to her brand; an homage to the person who ‘had a big impact on me: not only teaching me to draw, but how to observe and think creatively. He started me on my path to architecture and design.’
The pared-down sacoche, envelope, étui, folio and tube and pochette, reflect their essential function: transporting and protecting one’s work
Atelier YUL's leather goods are based on Cece’s philosophy, which draws from Vitruvius, the Roman architect and engineer who lay the foundations of what today is known as neo-classicism. In Cece’s words: ‘I seek a harmonious balance between strength, utility, and beauty.’
In the case of Atelier YUL bags, that means she ‘was able to express a functional simplicity that is a lot more difficult to achieve at the scale of a building.’ Taking their name from the – eternally elegant – French words sacoche, envelope, étui, folio and tube and pochette, the pieces are pared down to their essential function: transporting and protecting one’s work.
At the moment, Atelier YUL is available exclusively on the brand’s website, but Cece’s in talks with retailers in the US, Canada and Europe. She’s eager to share this solution to her own problem: ‘I’ve always been one to enjoy making things with my own hands, and the scale of product design is very appealing because it has a more intimate relationship to the human scale.’