This weekend we’re heading to a shop in one of my favourite parts of Paris where I have spent plenty of time both admiring and buying its tempting wares.
EMPREINTES is a 600 sqm (6,000 sq ft) concept store in the heart of the Marais dedicated to creations solely made in France! A bold and successful bet by the Ateliers d’Art de France, since the store opened in 2016 and is still going strong over five years later.
Housed in a light-filled former industrial building, this temple of handicraft covers four stories and is a far cry from standard furniture stores. Here, everything has been hand-made in studios from all over France.
From tableware to furniture, via lights and even jewellery, there is something for everyone and (almost) all budgets. These are from small, curated collections, and in some cases, unique one-off pieces. It’s just like entering a museum where you can purchase the myriad of hand-crafted items on display, from sculptural ceramics to one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Walls lined with over 1,000 carefully curated decorative wares, the loft-like shop takes you on a journey into the ateliers of France. Stories of the craftsmen’s unique skills and creative visions accompany the limited-edition collections, bringing an intimacy and greater interest to the shopping experience.
Redesigned by architect Nabil Hamdouni, the airy space once housed an old family-run costume jewelry studio from 1930s that had even designed for Chanel. What an ideal place for for Ateliers d’Art de France to set the stage for local artisans.
This immersion in French craftspersons’ daily lives continues in the basement where there’s a screening room playing movies about creative professions.
On the first floor, there’s an exhibition area which, twice a year, highlights a particular skill or topic. There’s also a cafe on this floor serving delightful dishes
Last but not least, on the second floor, a wide relaxation area fitted with comfortable sofas invites you to find out more about artisanal know-how with the open library set on the side.
Walking through the vast space provides an experience in awakening the senses to the delicacy and detail of artisanal design. Whether the item is crafted from ceramics, wood, paper, metal, or perhaps a combination of them all, EMPREINTES fondness for original design is clear.
Even the store’s name Empreintes which translates to fingerprints affirms the federation’s dedication to the art of hand-crafting.
So, if you’re ever in the Upper Marais (3rd arrondissement), do pop in.
All images courtesy of EMPREINTES