Moment / 08 Oct 2018

Boutique | Maison Assouline

Maison Assouline 1st floor
A delicate musky fragrance wafts through the air and hushed voices merge with the soothing tones of Frank Sinatra. Once inside the refined confines of Maison Assouline, it's difficult to imagine that one of London's busiest traffic arteries is roaring behind the thick oak door. With its high ceilings and wood-panelled walls, the space feels more like a stately home than a bookstore.
Assouline published books
'We wanted to do it differently from all the boring books.' So says Martine Assouline, one half of the husband and wife team which founded, runs and owns the publishing house Maison Assouline. Assouline produces beautifully made, sumptuously illustrated books - 'graphically dynamic', in its own words - on subjects as diverse as travel, jewellery, art, architecture, food, cars, photography and fashion. They aspire to produce 'unique books that are a work of art in their own right'. If coffee table books they are, they are very grand ones.
Martine and her husband Prosper Assouline founded the imprint in 1994. Prosper had run a creative design agency in the 1980s - counting Dior, Chanel and Christie's among his clients - and had been a successful magazine publisher. They had married in 1991 and had a son but Martine sensed that Prosper was becoming frustrated in his work. So Martine proposed, as they both loved books, using her time to start a publishing business: 'It will be your oxygen,' she said. For the first two years she worked alone at home. In 1994, they published their first book, written by Martine herself, a celebration of the world-famous restaurant La Colombe d'Or in Saint Paul de Vence.
Assouline scented candle
Assouline bookshelf
Beyond"beautiful books" Assouline is invested in the promotion of culture. It has created the"first brand of luxury culture" by opening boutiques where one can discover a world of good taste, excitement and intellect, a place where "culture can be acquired" within a luxurious environment. One can purchase complete book collections as well as objects that belong in contemporary libraries such as perfumed candles and "cabinets of curiosities."
Maison Assouline 1st floor - Swan Bar
Over its long history, Assouline has grown from a marginal publisher of style-driven titles to a lifestyle luxury brand that seeks to elevate the humble book into a covetable accessory. The newly established company created something of a stir with the release of its first complete series of books in 1996. Covering influential people and movements in fashion, art, design, and gastronomy, the books in the Memories collection were beautifully made, yet the prices were modest. But this approach posed a few challenges.
Maison Assouline 3rd floor
Maison Assouline
Maison Assouline1st floor
Assouline and Gucci Limited series