Civilization has evolved many times over thousands of years. The Middle Ages, Rococo period, Renaissance and the Industrial period are just some examples of our collective transformation. While progress has been a hallmark of them all, that prevailing trend has changed, perhaps for the first time in human history.
Today, we live in an age where everything is disposable. The vast majority of products are specifically created to be thrown away. From plastic water bottles to disposable diapers, so few products are made to last. Manufacturers call it “planned obsolescence.” In a fast moving, utterly expendable consumer modern age, it can be a challenge to pinpoint — or even define quality.
Taking on that challenge is a group of modern craftsman led by renowned interior designer Sarah Magness. Her brainchild, the Palm Beach Atelier, was born in 2017.
“I was working on a space in Paris and collaborated with Sacco Carpet, Cameron Lighting and a French artist named Louis Cane,” she says. “The success from that collaboration was very refreshing because the end result space was a beautiful showcasing of the talent and craft of each individual vendor.
It was then that I realized that there was a strong need for these very curated spaces that celebrate the talents and skills of traditional craftspeople within our industry. It was something that I really knew the people of Palm Beach, our clients, would celebrate and also be excited about — learning and visualizing the different elements that these special vendors create.”
The Atelier opened by appointment only in early January and encompasses 200 square feet in the historic Paramount Building. The room is a showcase of craftsmanship in various forms, but curated as a living space by Magness, and serves as a hub of inspiration and intellectual conversation. On February 16, Magness hosted a thoughtful panel discussion on the evolution of technology and disposable consumerism and the effect it has on the antique, luxury and bespoke markets. There are plans in the works for other thought-provoking events, including a panel discussion on the luxury yachting space later this month.
The craftsmen who comprise the Palm Beach Atelier space include renowned furniture producer Rinck Paris, who has been cementing its reputation for superb craftsmanship and impeccable reproduction of ancient pieces since 1841. Marmi Stone is another. The company, which was originally established in Cairo, Egypt, is known worldwide for its exceptional stonework. SACCO Carpet mills and uses old technology of weaving merged with new technology to create bespoke carpets and rugs in the residential and hospitality markets. Hyde Park Mouldings specializes in the design, fabrication and installation of all types of moulded plaster ornamentation and the creation of custom surface finishes for walls and ceilings. Liz O’Brien, who will be contributing furniture and antiques to the Palm Beach Atelier, has been a pioneer in the decorative arts for the last 20 years. And, of course, there’s the eponymous Sarah Magness.
While quality may be an amorphous concept, certainly most of us know when we see it. For that reason, if for no other, we strongly suggest you take the time to enjoy the splendors of this pop-up craftsman space before it’s gone.