Maison Assouline — London, UK
Having carved themselves a unique niche by cementing the humble book as a luxury status symbol, Martine and Prosper Assouline have celebrated their eponymous publishing house’s twentieth anniversary by opening their first international flagship in London’s St James district. Originally a banking hall designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1922, the store is equal parts library, boutique and museum. The protected Grade-II listed building was given a masculine makeover in shades of deep burgundy and claret, with an intelligent use of materials such as stained timber. The result is a luxuriously contemplative space that showcases the brand’s 20,000 tomes on everything from anthropology to fashion and culture. The store’s bespoke bindery, curated furniture line, lacquered tables, polished brass lamps and deep sofas invite patrons to linger, while the excellent Swan Bar will find takers for its elegant selection of cocktails, champagne and light bites that range from foie gras to Spanish hams.