London Layered Collage by Kristjana S Williams
This bespoke piece of art for The Athenaeum brings together a feeling of nature, London and Iceland.
2nd June 2016
Maison Assouline, the eponymous flagship store of Assouline publishing, has been internationally heralded as one of London’s most artistic and chic destinations. Founded by philanthropic couple Martine and Prosper 20 years ago, Assouline is a brand that has always had an elegant and luxurious profile; and its contemporary Piccadilly store is no exception. Maison Assouline is a physical manifestation of the values held by the duo, and it achieves a perfect fusion of bookstore, cabinet of curiosities, bar and restaurant. This eclectic and unusual blend has created a novel oasis in the heart of London.
Where else to house this culturally important brand’s vision than an opulent banking hall designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1922? The charm of the Grade II-listed building amplifies the store’s exclusive atmosphere, with its dark-wooden interiors, balcony and corniced ceilings. Maison Assouline combined its 2014 opening with hosting Valentino’s book launch, welcoming a plethora of A-listers and setting the VIP precedent.
Today, bibliophiles and cocktail drinkers alike can enjoy a range of services at this hub of high culture: be it sweeping through the Assouline Book Collection, ordering a bespoke bindery text or casting their eyes over the ornate Parisian offerings of the Cabinet de Curiosités. The discerning guest can leave Maison Assouline having purchased anything from a signature print to a piece of furniture from the Interior Collection. Swans Bar serves food from breakfast time to early dinner, including artisanal teas, cocktails, jamón ibérico and the self-appointed ‘best foie gras and salmon toasts’ around. In all, the Assoulines’ desire to make this institution a ‘quintessence of culture and style’ is highly successful and resonates in every aspect of the emporium.
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