In 2016, Atelier Vime, a Provence-based antiques dealer and wicker workshop, was established in an old hôtel particulier in the village of Vallabrègues, France. Though it’s far from any passing foot traffic, within a matter of months the brand’s wicker and rattan furniture had caught the attention of interior designers, including Pierre Yovanovitch, Charles Zana and David Netto. “Instagram is how people found us,” says Anthony Watson, who started Atelier Vime with his partner in life and business, Benoit Rauzy, and the designer Raphaëlle Hanley. “When we opened an account three years ago, we were unknown in the interiors business, but then it all happened quite quickly.”
Vime’s feed is a lush showcase for its collection of hand-woven furniture and objects — such as mirrors, pedestals and light fixtures — along with an array of rattan, wicker, raffia and rope designs by midcentury designers like Tito Agnoli, Charlotte Perriand, Adrien Audoux and Frida Minnet. The account also offers a window into Watson’s and Rauzy’s unique aesthetic universe: an unusual but arresting mix of rustic designs and Louis XV furniture set against the backdrop of the house in Vallabrègues. (Unsurprisingly, Atelier Vime is expanding its offerings to include interior design services.)
The American artist Wayne Pate (left) with Atelier Vime’s Benoit Rauzy, Raphaëlle Hanley and Anthony Watson in their home-cum-showroom in Paris, from where they are selling their designs and the work of other designers and artists.
This week, to coincide with the Parisian design fairs Maison & Objet and Deco Off, Atelier Vime invites clients and collectors to step inside its world. Rauzy and Watson have transformed five rooms of their pre-Haussmann duplex in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood into a showroom for their permanent collection, along with six new styles — among them wicker place mats, lamps and a daybed — and an array of objects they’ve curated from artisans they admire. “The idea is to show what we like,” says Rauzy of the mix, which includes curtains they designed with Pierre Frey, ceramic vases from fellow Provençal artisans Les Dalo and hand-printed cushions from the American artist Drusus Tabor. “We are all newcomers from the same generation, and we have the same approach.”
Atelier Vime is something of a side project and second act for Rauzy and Watson, who have long held careers as an environmental consultant and stylist respectively. (Hanley is an accessories designer who worked for Stefano Pilati during his tenure at Yves Saint Laurent.) They began as collectors 15 years ago, seeking out vintage rattan and wicker pieces from the 1940s to the 1970s. But it wasn’t until 2015, when they bought the house in Vallabrègues and discovered that it was a former 18th-century wicker workshop, that they decided to start something of their own. Today, they employ nine artisans, and even grow their own wicker around the delta of the river Rhône. “We didn’t start this as a job, it started as an idea,” says Rauzy. “Now it looks like it could be a good economic model.”
The Wayne Pate lampshades for Atelier Vime (left), and a Wayne Pate lampshade for Atelier Vime (left) in front of the mural he painted in a “Provence” palette, framed by pink velvet curtains from Pierre Frey; to the right is a new hanging lamp by Atelier Vime (right).
Available for purchase from the showroom (and online) will also be a limited-edition collection of antique rope and ceramic lamps with shades hand-painted by the Brooklyn artist Wayne Pate, who currently resides in Paris. The collaboration is the result of much back-and-forth after the two parties discovered each other’s work — on Instagram, of course. Pate has painted twelve bright lampshades, each reflecting the studied approach he takes to color and form, a technique rooted in the heritage of decorative art. “I didn’t want to do the expected: repetitive, decorative motifs,” he says. “There’s more of a unique structure.”
This project marks the beginning of what promises to be a fruitful friendship. Up next, there’s a fresco to be commissioned for the house in Vallabrègues and Pate is working on a mural for Atelier Vime’s Paris showroom, for which he’s prepared a sketch of a scene that features objects and motifs in each of their lives — an Atelier Vime vase and mirror, and an abstract floral form that reoccurs in his own work. He paints the background in a warm blue-gray color that will define the overall color scheme. “I’m trying to understand what their palette is — that soft, richness,” he says of Atelier Vime. “It makes you think of Provence.”
Pate and Atelier Vime share an appreciation for richly curated surroundings. On the mantelpiece in the apartment, which has been in Rauzy’s family since the 1960s, when his parents were part of the Left Bank beatnik set, sits an assortment of Watson and Rauzy’s 18th-century Moustier ceramics. On the walls hang sketches by Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. Every nook and corner enchants the eye. “One of the appealing things about Atelier Vime is that they live and breathe what they do,” Pate says. “These vignettes within the home are almost as important as the product itself.”
Subscribe to our newsletter