Alex Assouline has big plans for his parent's eponymous brand, and they begin with our favorite space: the library.
In the publishing world, there is a name that is synonymous with luxury and sophistication: Assouline. Renowned for reinventing the coffee table book, the family-owned brand makes its mark once again in the United Arab Emirates by reopening in THAT Concept Store. With its new shop-in-shop at THAT, Assouline brings the allure of its Impossible and geographically-inspired books and reinforces its book design revolution.
Assouline's venture in the Middle East began with the establishment of a store in Dubai Mall (which closed in 2020) and the publication of Savoir Flair's 10-year anniversary book. Since then, it has added 30 additional titles from the region to its repertoire. Its presence here is growing exponentially, with books that span a diverse range of topics and titles, from Dubai Expo 2020 and Sheikh Zayed to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Collection and Orientalism Style. These, among others, shed light on stories that have never been told, and it has around 30-40 new regionally relevant titles launching in the coming year. Furthermore, Assouline is opening pop-ups and outposts in AlUla and a few more locations throughout Saudi Arabia, beginning in November 2023. More and more book lovers and elite collectors are adorning their libraries with these captivating volumes.
At the helm of Assouline's remarkable journey is Alex Assouline, the son of founders Prosper and Martine Assouline. Like his parents, he is a visionary with a passion for elevating the realms of design, literature, and luxury. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to storytelling that engages the mind as well as the eye, Alex is taking the company's offerings to a whole new level. When we spoke with him two years ago, he mentioned his plans to expand into interior design. It is a realm he is infinitely interested in.
"I told you that two years ago?" he asked us incredulously when we met with him at the launch of Assouline in THAT Concept Store.
"Yes, and we published it." He took a moment smiling to himself before looking at us again.
Indeed, Assouline has already started to inch into the interior design space. It has introduced a new candle line to complement its travel book collections, adding a sensory dimension to its already visually compelling publications. It has also launched travel playlists to auditorily transport you to a destination while you devour the images with your eyes surrounded by the scents of an exotic land.
The aim is to engage all of the senses. "In terms of touch, the covers are important. It's linen. It's silk. It's wood. We've moved away from paper jackets. The feeling of the material gives you emotion," he adds.
"What about taste?" we ask.
"Well, we have the cocktails in London," he says slyly. He then explained a little bit more about his vision for the future. However, we were asked to keep it off the record for the time being, and we are nothing if not honorable. (But we promise, the plans are exciting.)
Alex's vision goes even further.
"I'm launching, next year, a big (I hope) interior design service worldwide for libraries," he confided. "But we're going to do it in a bigger way. We are experts in libraries and books. We will become the authority in contemporary, luxury libraries."
Assouline's luxury library spaces will be meticulously curated from start to finish, encompassing everything from furniture and rugs to objets d'art and its signature books. This venture will cater not only to private homes but also to businesses and hotels, creating bespoke environments of unparalleled elegance.
Alex is also keen on forging exclusive partnerships with distinguished brands such as Tanagra, further enhancing the grandeur of these luxury libraries. What sets this endeavor apart is the seamless fusion of literature, design, and art, offering an all-encompassing experience that transcends the ordinary.
Beyond its own curated spaces, Assouline is extending its creative reach to collaborate with other publications outside its purview, expanding its influence within the realm of luxury design.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," says Alex with a mischievous smile. "Our 30-year anniversary is next year. We'll talk again, and I'll expose the plan for the next three years."
With Alex at the helm, Assouline is not merely a publisher of coffee table books. It's a creator of worlds, a purveyor of elegance, and a true emblem of luxury. Its foray into design marks the evolution of an already distinguished brand into a powerhouse that encompasses every facet of opulent living. Whether you're in search of captivating books, stunning design, or the complete luxury library experience, Assouline, under the guidance of Alex Assouline, is leading the way.