Rue des Gravilliers is one of the oldest streets in Paris. It was marked out at the beginning of the 13th century when the village of Saint-Martin-des-Champs was created. It is situated in the district of Le Marais, originally a marshy area that was later used for market gardening.
The street gradually become popular and was lined with trade outlets. Craftsmen made and sold cendres gravelées, ash obtained from the calcination of wine lees, used to prepare cloth for dyeing. At the beginning of the 20th century, a community of Sephardi Jews set up the leather trade in the street. Then, at the end of the Second World War, Chinese settlers from the Wenzhou region began to take over the leather shops. Rue des Gravilliers became one of Europe’s first Chinatowns.
The district has undergone a dramatic change. The wholesalers have abandoned the street where art galleries, restaurants and unique shops now flourish, making the district a lively and dynamic place. Alki has chosen this place, situated just a stone’s throw from the Museum of Arts & Crafts, to open its first professional showroom. Everything in this meeting place has been conceived as an opportunity to draw closer to our partners, purchasing consultants, architects and other professionals, by soaking up the Alki universe.
The showroom is located in a former workshop. It has been renovated and transformed into a charming 130m² space bathed in light by Boma Architects, working in close collaboration with our artistic division, Studio Iratzoki & Lizaso. The project consisted in drawing on what already exists and preserving the memory of toil and craftsmanship that permeates throughout place. Stone walls have been exposed, a glass canopy has been rebuilt and a basement room restored.
The interior has been fitted with rounded arches, an array of warm colours and materials and, of course, numerous collections of furniture made by the Cooperative. Considerable thought has gone into greening up the area using the very latest collection of Lur pots, to create a naturally-changing environment.
The new Alki showroom was inaugurated on Thursday, 2nd of December in Paris. More than two hundred people attended for the visit during the day and the cocktail afterwards. For the occasion, each guest received a handcrafted graphic made in embossing technique with paint application.
Here is an image shared by one of our customers who decorated her living room with one of these creations. Photo credits: Emmanuelle Périé