THE STYLE LIST
Maison Assouline at The Dubai Mall; Laura Laine’s powerful illustrations; Bvlgari’s Fiorever jewellery collection; and The Gift of Kings by Loro Piana
Not only will Maison Assouline fill your library with exquisite, insightful books, it will redesign the space for you, too. Step inside the luxury brand’s new store at The Dubai Mall, and you’ll discover just what its take on a modern library is.
The books are designed to be displayed and marvelled at, and each cover is a work of art in itself. Between all the books, you’ll find hand-picked antiques – intriguing objects strategically placed to spark your curiosity. Of course, everything in the store is for sale, but walking into Maison Assouline feels like entering a literary sanctuary, and you can leave the bustle of the mall at the door.
At the back of the store, past the gold Swans Bar, you’ll find a private office for those who want to make the ultimate purchase – a library itself. Prosper and Martine Assouline are the Parisian founders of the luxury publishing powerhouse, and they, together with the Assouline team, will design everything for you, from start to finish.
“The special thing about the store is this room,” Prosper says as we take a seat on a green velvet sofa. The space is filled with hand-drawn pictures of beautiful homes. He points to a drawing of a New York townhouse, with brick walls and high arched windows, books filling the shelves, which extend from floor-toceiling. “In this room, you can come to us and say: ‘I would like Assouline to design for us’, and we can create your complete library. We bring the furniture, the books, everything. It’s really something unique.”
Assouline-curated libraries are statements of luxury, the brand says, pulling together the best titles, art, furniture and antiques to create an embassy of culture. The brand will even take care of the smell, with a custom-made aroma designed to transport you into a literary abyss. “We create candles with scents that come from the books,” Prosper says. “We analyse the DNA of a library; we smell the paper, the wood, the leather. It’s a mix of everything and it is just beautiful,” he adds.
The Dubai store is nestled between some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, neighbouring Chanel, Versace and Dior in the mall’s Fashion Avenue. It is only the second ever concept store for the publishers, who will be curating a collection of titles centred around the Middle East.
Founded in the early 1990s, Maison Assouline has succeeded in shaping books into status symbols, publishing titles on fashion, travel and culture. Its Ultimate collection is hand-bound using traditional techniques, with colour plates hand-tipped on art-quality paper. “You can find 1,000 books here,” Prosper says. “But you can also find many objects that you cannot find anywhere in the world because they are antiques, they are unique, and they are the perfect asset for your library.”