Eye on Design | Paris | Astier de Villatte

Eye on Design | Paris | Astier de Villatte

I could spend hours in this store.  The milky glazed ceramics, inspired by 18th and 19th century designs, are captivating. Astier de Villatte ceramics, handmade in a Paris workshop, have a distinctive look because they are made with black terra cotta clay, leaving deliberate imperfections, and then lightly glazed with white.  The dark clay shows through on the bumps and edges of each piece, making them look like they are centuries old. Parisian artist Nathalie Lété', whose work has been sold all over the world (Anthropologie has carried many of her products), joins co-founders Ivan Pericoli and Benoit Astier de Villate in the creation of this glorious collection of ceramics. Surprisingly, because they look so delicate, they are extremely durable and even dishwasher safe. The store on the fashionable 173 rue Saint-Honoré near the Louvre was a 17th century silversmith's shop, and is a rabbit warren of little rooms that makes me feel like I'm on a treasure hunt. On the Left Bank, in the rue de Bourbon-le-Château, there's another little shop, so unassuming you might miss it...but don't! In addition to the gorgeous ceramics, the store sells the most sublimely scented candles...my new favorite.  The scents are inspired by places around the world.  From Namche Bazar in Nepal to Scaturchio bakery in Naples, each candle is an elaborate blend of exotic fragrances.  My favorite, and the one my home is now fragrant with, is Mantes-la-Jolie, which fills the air with the fresh scents of green herbs from a French village market: bergamot, mint, eucalyptus, and crisp greens. At the recent Maison & Objet trade show in Paris, Astier de Villatte unveiled some stunning new designs, adding color and new shapes to the mix. If you can't get to Paris, have fun looking at their imaginative website...just click on the crystal ball! www.astierdevillatte.com Astier de Villatte 173 rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 4 rue de Bourbon-le-Château, Paris (Ceramics and candles also available at ABC Home in New York)