INSIDE THE NEW ROMAN AND WILLIAMS GUILD
The New York-based design studio Roman and Williams—with smash-hit projects like Le Coucou in New York, and Broken Shaker in Miami—has turned its attention to something new.
Part café, part design destination, the 7,000-square-foot Roman and Williams Guild on Howard Street in SoHo is the design studio’s first flagship store. The space is a celebration of all kinds of craftsmanship, from Japanese ceramics to flaky pastries to inspired flower arrangements.
Furniture, lighting, and accessories designed by Roman and Williams now have a home under the same roof as La Mercerie Café, from Chef Marie-Aude Rose, and a flower shop from Emily Thompson. Design, art, food, and flowers all share this timeless space, open seven days a week for coffee and pastries, French-inspired lunches, cocktails, and more.
“The Guild is, yes, a furniture store. But it’s also a democratic sanctuary, which celebrates quality and the creative daring of craftspeople and artists,” say founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch on the store’s website. The Guild goes beyond a traditional furniture store, with a cozy library stocked with Phaidon books, an ever-changing flower shop, and a stylish all-day café.
La Mercerie Café feels like a slice of Paris in SoHo. Blue banquettes line the bright space, overlooking a big marble-clad kitchen. Each plate, napkin, coffee cup, and lamp is a temptation—they’re all available in the adjacent store.
Chef Marie-Aude Rose discovered a love of cooking early in life, with her grandparents in Paris and the French countryside. Her love of everyday French cooking is apparent at La Mercerie, where divine incarnations of classics fill the menu. From flaky croissants to ham and cheese crepes to delicate omelets, the menu here is a reminder that some of life’s most pleasurable moments aren’t very complicated.
The story of La Mercerie begins, much like Marie-Aude’s love of cooking, in Paris. Marie-Aude met her husband, Chef Daniel Rose, at his restaurant Spring in the French capital. In 2016, the couple moved to New York, where Daniel opened Le Coucou, two blocks east of the Guild on Howard Street. The café is a welcoming space with pastries, tarts, and turnovers on display. French cookies can be packed into tin boxes and taken away. It is equally attractive for a quick coffee break from shopping in SoHo or a leisurely late-afternoon lunch followed by cocktails.
The Guild manages an unexpected fluidity between spaces; guests may move from the café to the fragrant flower shop to browsing through the furniture, glassware, and ceramics. A coffee or cocktail in hand certainly elevates the shopping experience.
Roman and Williams once stated, “Our secret is to focus on things we love.” With the new Guild space in SoHo, that strategy has been successful once again.
Words Jessica Colley Clarke
Photography courtesy Roman and Williams Guild