By Alyson Pitarre
Williamsburg, Brooklyn-based design studio Atelier & Co. boldly brings the art and architecture traditions of the past into the present.
In 1418, a goldsmith named Filippo Brunelleschi designed one of the greatest architectural feats in Italy: the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence. Il Duomo, as it is called, consists of two concentric shells, an inner one visible from within the cathedral nested inside a wider, taller external dome. His detailed sketches and diagrams reveal just how groundbreaking it was for the time. Five centuries later, Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens revolutionized the notion of the English country house by fusing function with the arts and crafts movement.
The evidence of their genius lives on in their buildings to this day — and yet the artistry of architecture, as these two men knew it, has largely faded. Hand-drawings and sketches have been replaced by digital renderings. Ateliers, once considered the birthplace of art and design, are few and far between. Many of the great arts and crafts traditions are being lost to mass-manufactured fabrications. Technological advancement, while positive and necessary, has made the intangibles in a physical environment — the emotion of a space — become pixelated.
“Once upon a time, an architect needed to paint and draw well,” explains Richard Cameron, co-founder of Atelier & Co. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “It was part of their architectural training.”
The idea of creating…