Some of the finest homes in the Southeast have commissioned their work—so why aren’t Atlanta’s most sought-after craftsmen and artisans household names? That was the burning question that ultimately compelled Kolo Collection’s Michelle Larrabee-Martin to launch the retail concept Atlanta MADE.
For 10 years, Larrabee-Martin has worked directly with a handful of local woodworkers, metalsmiths and textile designers for the outdoor furniture company Kolo Collection that she owns with husband Greg, so the interior designer’s appreciation for workmanship, quality materials and microscopic attention is second to none.
“These are talented folks—doing so much work for Atlanta’s top designers—but the retail market does not know who they are,” says Larrabee-Martin. As a result, Atlanta MADE is devoted to not only showcasing the tangible wares of Atlanta’s creative class, but also to sharing the stories behind the city’s woodworkers, furniture designers, metalsmiths, artists and others who are preserving the tradition of crafting by hand.
And whether it’s as elaborate as a custom wood-and-iron bookcase that’s a collaboration between furniture designer Doug Honabach and metalsmith Charles Calhoun or a more budget-friendly Maggie Hasbrouck print, the appeal of purchasing these artisans’ “ready-to-wear” products (which may also be one-of-a-kind) is bound to carry major street cred with Atlanta’s style-savvy shoppers.
Another plus: the Westside is “a very grab-and-go location,” says Larrabee-Martin. Home to an enviable mix of boutique retailers, top-rated restaurants, galleries and a mini design district, it’s a bona fide destination for young and old, locals and visitors, do-it-yourselfers and tradesman. Atlanta MADE seeks to capitalize on that ever-buzzing energy by encouraging its artisans to host trunk shows, cocktail parties—or even work on-site on a busy Saturday.
“Telling their stories is the most important part,” Larrabee-Martin emphasizes. With a curator like herself at the helm, it’s a safe bet that these artisans won’t be Atlanta’s best-kept secrets for long.
1187 Howell Mill Rd., Atlanta 30318. (404) 355-1717; atlantamade.us