F5: Melanie Courbet Shares the Spark Behind Her Gallery + More

02.03.23 | By
F5: Melanie Courbet Shares the Spark Behind Her Gallery + More

Influenced by her French and Tunisian upbringing, travels and collaborations, Melanie Courbet founded Les Ateliers Courbet in 2013. The Founder of the gallery, located in the Chelsea neighborhood, chose to focus on a master-craftsman ethos and the sharing of art that embodies artisanal dexterity and cultural heritage. Les Ateliers Courbet comes with international recognition for its dedication to craftsmanship legacies and techniques that have stood the test of time. Today, the gallery represents a permanent roster of more than 30 ateliers whose works reside in the decorative arts and furniture. Melanie works with private collectors, interior designers, and public institutions to foster and share the work of these sometimes centuries-old manufacturers and international contemporary artisans.

light-skinned woman with long brown hair wearing a light grey shirt and looking at the camera

Melanie Courbet

Before making the jump and owning her own gallery space, Melanie worked in Los Angeles advising young collectors, managing design projects, and organizing exhibitions in New York and Paris. She also incubated the Love & Art for Children Foundation and managed design studio Dror’s international communications and business development. All of the pieces were there, she just had to put them together.

Melanie has had the opportunity to collaborate with some established names and brands, among them are LVMH, Cappellini, Christie’s, and Pritzker Prize Architect, Thom Mayne. Institutions include the Muséedes Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Ministry Of Culture in France.

This week, Melanie Courbet joins us for Friday Five!

Miles David album cover reading Kind of Blue

Courtesy Columbia Records

1. Records

Sunday nights at home ordering in and playing records. This Miles Davis album has been my favorite since it was gifted to me 17 years ago by an old friend who is a music artist responsible for a great part of my music culture. My mother would play old records at home, too.

dark-skinned child wearing a pink polo shirt looks at the camera while smiling and giving two thumbs up

Photo: Shine on Sierra Leone

2. Shine on Sierra Leone

To different degrees since 2007, I have been involved with my friend’s organization Shine on Sierra Leone that’s located in the northeast village of Kono, Sierra Leone. The organization includes two schools, over 500 students, adult literacy, a health program, and long-standing micro-loan programs for women. We’ve been working with the local community and the teachers at our school to empower both children and parents to support their access to education, health, and small business opportunities.

I am particularly fond of a teenage student, Amadou. I’ve been personally supporting and following from his first years at Muddy Lotus, our elementary school, through to today as he enters college in Freetown. I would adamantly recommend the fulfilling experience of supporting one student’s education somewhere in the world, and being able to see how your minimal contribution impacts the life of another being.

a light-skinned woman with long brown hair sitting on a bench viewing a painting in a museum seen from behind

Photo: Melanie Courbet

3. Sunday Visits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Fall and winter weekend visits to the Met. I often skip the temporary shows and stroll through the antiques and old masters’ galleries. A breath of inspiration and meditative space.

beige and neon high-top sneakers

Photo courtesy Humanrace (Pharrell x Adidas)

4. Humanrace Sneakers Shopped Online

My new Humanrace sneakers by Pharrell and Adidas. I’m slightly addicted to spending time shopping on the online auction platforms, with the latest being Pharrell’s Joopiter auction.

light-skinned woman piloting a helicopter

Photo: Melanie Courbet

5. Helicopter Piloting

I find flying and piloting helicopters to be another meditative space and breath of inspiration.


Work Shown at Les Ateliers Courbet:

three gray vessels of various sizes

Vessels from the Karen Swami Collection, Les Ateliers Courbet

low oblong-shaped dark wood coffee table

Nakagawa Mokkougei’s Indigo Table created in collaboration with Les Ateliers Courbet and Studio OeO for Editions Courbet

curvaceous white sofa

The Moon Sofa by Raphael Navot fuses sculpture and furniture, Les Ateliers Courbet

styled gallery interior with chair and framed images on floating shelves

The Maison Intégre collaboration with French designer Duchaufour-Lawrance and the bronze artisans in Burkina Faso offers seven sculptural pieces inspired by vernacular architecture.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.