Roman and Williams Guild
Written and photographed
by Sarah Valdizon
Situated on a rather prominent corner in Soho, one will find Guild—an establishment that breathes an air of allurement, found in objects of authenticity, of feeling, of texture, of depth; and ultimately, of experience. The mood inside is uncompromisingly warm and inviting. Vast, light filled windows, sprawling, imaginative scapes and moody corners and an array of open pathways throughout make for an interesting explore of the 7,000 sq. foot space. One part floral shop, one part restaurant, and for the largest part, interiors and home-accessories shop. It is a place that exudes beauty. Not only in its tasteful tones, artistry and interactions with that which is of an organic nature, but in the fact that it is a treasury of pieces that hold respect for the past, are ever-present and purposeful for the now, and arguably, also for the future.
Guild is a space that is truly an extension of the work and an ever-playful scene for owners and designers Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch—who formed Roman & Williams back in 2002. Their touch has created and highlighted different places and homes throughout the city and beyond (a favorite being Le Coucou) with telltale signs of their joint eyes, so evident in the many stunning projects they have completed. And with all of their accumulated experience and knowledge, it comes as no surprise that the designers have created their own, ever-growing collection of furnishings for the shop (from lights to tables). The foundation for Guild.
All of the objects that are added to shop seem to coexist in an eclectic note, wonderfully and seamlessly—be it the certain quality that they all seem to hold, or the simple, sheer fact that they truly make life just a little more beautiful; the every day just a little more pleasant. Tablescapes, shelves and furniture pieces are well considered, yet relaxed; they are practical, precise, yet none are too precious. In fact, nearly everything in the shop (no matter if it totals $20 or $2000) is touchable, reachable, no matter how fragile in appearance or regard (and with all the more reason to fall in love).
Exotic, folded rugs in graphic cream and black sit close to an armful of budding branches tucked in an iconic, large scale vase. Handmade. Stacks of Japanese ceramic collections in hushed tones, with telltale signs of their origin look so delightful paired with well-patinaed antique French cutlery, and almost fairytale-like glassware. And that is just a glimpse of the upstairs. Books for those with a fondness for food, art, interiors or other creative ventures take visitors down to the lower level, where they will discover volumes and volumes and timeless pages to pour over and other fancies to discover.
Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have certainly established a cornerstone for New York. One that might inspire a budding artist to learn and practice their craft… and another, to take up and create the loveliest and most thoughtful Easter table for upcoming brunch, or to simply to just explore talents rooted from a city and culture so entirely unlike their own… where artisans are highlighted and celebrated to create, form and inform a community of those who will appreciate and enjoy their individual works, and worlds… a place to dream, with a little wanderlust… to dream of stunning looms of linen, of fine candle making and tactile, painterly pottery, and the desire to bring just a little of that large dream, home…
Amongst our personal favorites are the glasswares of Yoshihiro Nishiyama, the Rinka plates (as shown above in photo no.06) by Kaneko Kohyo and the impeccable cookies of Chef Marie Aude-Rose.
Featured: Roman and Williams Guild at 53 Howard St, New York