Karlina Nathan, global director of Maison Assouline, whose flagship store is in Piccadilly, spoke to Mayfair Times editor Selma Day before the inaugural Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival in 2018.
What is your role as global director?
“My role is to continue to drive the global success of the “Maison” concept and its creative approach to lifestyle and culture.
“Assouline is undoubtedly really the ultimate luxury brand.”
What sets Maison Assouline apart from other book shops?
“Maison Assouline is a cultural concept store. But, even more so, it serves as a window into the world of Assouline and as an incubator space for the brand.
“Nothing happens here by chance.
“We are constantly looking for new and playful ways to bring the pages of our books to life in order to create a fresh and exciting customer experience.”
What are your plans for Maison Assouline?
“Retail has had an existential crisis and businesses with a creative approach like ours are the ones surviving and really thriving.”
The second Maison Assouline opened in Dubai last year and there will be further international expansion over the next few years.
Why do you think Assouline has been so successful?
“Our book collections touch on every facet of culture and luxury lifestyle, from art, travel, fashion, jewellery, design to fine wines etc.
“But always through a fresh and unexpected approach.
“In an increasingly superficial world, where technology and digital is ever present, there is undoubtedly an increasing trend and passion to return to tangible objects such as books and art.”
“Assouline books are not just ‘coffee table books’, but rather objects of art.”
What contribution do you think Maison Assouline has made to the local community?
“Maison Assouline is set within an iconic, Grade II listed building on Piccadilly, originally designed as a banking hall by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1922.
“We feel honoured and fortunate to be custodians of such a special building. We continuously endeavour to preserve its historical and wonderful architectural features.
“We are far more than just a retail space and offer our local community a true ‘Maison experience’.
Why did you decide to support the Mayfair & St James’s Literary Festival?
“We are thrilled to be able to support such a cultural event taking place on our doorstep. It seemed only fitting to be involved as a cultural destination within the community.”
What is your favourite Assouline book?
“Assouline releases over 50 new titles a year so it’s hard to commit to a single ‘favourite’.
“However, one I always go back to is Women In Art by Reed Krakoff. The book focuses on influential and leading women in the contemporary art community. It is complimented with beautiful and intimate black and white portraits.”
Find out more about Maison Assouline here.
Read the full interview in the Mayfair Times here.