When curator and consultant Melanie Courbet opened up Les Ateliers Courbet – her showroom and gallery devoted to craftsmanship and heritage luxury goods – four years ago in a former commercial loft in Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood, ‘it was not hip at all,’ she says. ‘I liked the idea of having a little cabinet of curiosities in an unexpected neighbourhood, a little of off the grid between Chinatown and Little Italy.’
With the growing prominence of the neighbourhood and the showroom (which is known for its exquisite handmade wares, like Aldo Bakker vessels, Saint-Louis crystal and Japanese Shibori textiles, scoured from across the world), Courbet decided it was a good time to relocate, and it was then that she stumbled upon a plum vacancy in West Chelsea’s gallery district.
Les Ateliers Courbet new showroom in West Chelsea’s gallery district
This week, Les Ateliers Courbet inaugurates its new Tenth Avenue space with an installation of cashmere works by Oyuna, the eponymous line from Mongolian textile designer Oyuna Tserendorj. Known for her artful, contemporary take on traditional weaving techniques, Tserendorj has attracted a coterie of clients over the years that includes Calvin Klein, Goyard, and Kvadrat.
Courbet – who previously had a stint at Morphosis Architects and Studio Dror – worked with local contractors to outfit the new space with stucco-plaster walls, custom built-in shelves, and partitions that structure the interior into three vignettes for rotating installations, textiles and objets, and larger furniture pieces.
‘The space was just a white cube when we moved in, and I wanted to bring in a warm feeling of being at home,’ she says. There are couple of similarities to her former location: an off-white stucco-plaster coats the walls to lend a soft patina, and a grand piano finds itself in the space. This was Courbet’s personal find that was only to be temporarily stored at the gallery, but has since become a fond staple, with friends regularly popping in to fiddle with the keys.
Next month, Les Ateliers Courbet will also soft-launch a smaller outpost designed by Joseph Dirand at Miami’s Surf Club, just in time for Design Miami and Art Basel; here the gallery will launch a collaboration with the concept shop, The Webster. And after that? Courbet demurs, but says with a laugh, ‘for now, probably a vacation.’