City Walk, nouveau quartier à la mode près de Burj Khalifa (à gauche).
City Walk, a trendy new district near the Burj Khalifa (opposite page).
The four-level concept store Empreintes showcases the multiple facets of French savoir-faire.
Empreintes, which opened last fall near the Marché des Enfants-Rouges in Paris, aims to be different. This concept store is bursting with unique, sometimes quirky objects scattered over 600 m2 and four floors bathed in light. The artifacts, all handmade by mostly French artisans, are one-off or limited-edition creations. “This is a communal place,” explains Serge Nicole, president of the Union Nationale des Métiers d’Art. “It is also a lively place that echoes the Haut Marais neighborhood and the Ateliers d’Art de France, with its 6,000 workshops.” Nicole has placed this collective energy center stage to show that it’s possible to combine age-old skills and innovation without running the risk of being anachronistic. Explore Empreintes at a leisurely pace, to better grasp the dialogue between materials and the artisans’ individual approaches266 in all. Ceramicists are present in large numbers, working with earthenware, porcelain and stoneware in classic fashion, like Brigitte Pénicaud, or with a pop vibe, like Silver Sentimenti, who embroiders his anthracite vases with cords and sailor stitches. Sandrine Brioude displays the same creativity in her white and green bean-pod knife holders, ideal for vegetarian buffets. Those seeking transparent objects will like Éric Lindgren’s beautiful colored glasses; and wood lovers, the exceptionally refined pear wood plates by Antonis Cardew and Antony Bonniot, a duo based in Ivry-sur-Seine. Elizabeth Leriche designed this luminous space, home to over 1,000 objects, with simplicity in mind: “I chose soothing colors like sea green and celadon blue. There are lots of very evocative objects here, which add to an ethereal imaginary world. It beckons you to take a break, and you can take your time on every floor, from the fine tableware to the jewelry.” To emphasize the point, Empreintes has an organic café, a library and a screening room. Window-shopping doesn’t get more chill than this.