In keeping with Ahalife’s artisanal-mindedness, founder Shauna Mei has opened a shoppable gallery at Hotel Particulier, a salon-friendly communal work space for creative types in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood.
Located in what used to be a TriBeCa loading dock, Hotel Particulier was started by Frederique Thiollet who welcomes artists, writers and freethinkers on a regular basis. She approached Mei, whose e-commerce site encourages shoppers to learn the back stories about the craftsmen whose products they buy, about selecting items for a store. Their collaboration, which will be ongoing, included other creative elements. Courtney Smith designed the wooden staging installation that shoppers must walk on to peruse the 15 items that are for sale. Smith’s husband Iván Navarro, a lighting designer, has illuminated the space. (His installation “This Land is Your Land” is on view in Madison Square Park through April 13.)
Blokket, a $30 signal-blocking cellphone pouch, $85 Kahina Travel Basics skin care and $495 ceramic speakers are among the offerings. “The store almost feels like a museum,” Mei said. “The way it is designed you are forced to go on a guided walk and read the stories about the articles.”
Mei may invite a few of the designers whose items she has selected to give talks about their crafts. Thiollet is big on hosting other creatives in the 6 Grand Street space. And Mei was all-in for Monday’s “Traces” dinner, which was overseen by food designer Emilie Baltz and prepared by Brooklyn chefs Jose Ramirez-Ruiz and Pamela Yung.
“Everyone sat on the floor, which was covered with a big canvas, and you had to wear an apron. The chefs were climbing on Courtney’s wooden sculpture dripping food down on us. It was like Jackson Pollock. By the end of the night, the canvas on the floor and the ones we were wearing were like art pieces,” Mei said. “It was very cool.”
There was no shopping allowed for Hotel Particulier visitors that night though, she said.