What? Maison Assouline
Where? 196A Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1J 9EY, London
Highlights: Ambiance and atmosphere, pop culture books
Imagine looking at an old masonic building set with dark wooden double doors that seem too heavy for anyone to open. No hustle, no shoppers going in and coming out in a frenzy, at first glance, you might even think it’s abandoned.
At least that’s what was going on in my mind the first time I stood in front of art deco and jazzy bookstore Maison Assouline.
Then as soon as you step in, you’re transported into this fusion of 1920s and 1930s with jazz music, antique greek head statues, gramphones, huge Victorian style globes, and art deco style of accessories and jewelry.
Unlike your cozy next door bookstores that’s a bit messy but homey, Maison Assouline is like stepping into a glitzy mansion. Everything is meticulously shelved, and you have very specific titles that mainly reflect on themes of pop culture, fashion, and lifestyle. If Scott Fitzgerald was alive, I bet he’d spend his evenings and leisure hours here.
The books are very pricey, but each piece looks so pristine looking, and the antiques that were artfully placed throughout the area were for sale as well! I had the pleasure to leaf through a rare 1800s atlas, a more modern retelling of fashion powerhouse Chanel, and the cultural significance of Harlem revealed through visuals mediums of color and photography.
The browsing in itself was worth it!
Better yet, within the space there is a cafe too. And befitting the vibe of the place, the waiters wore white suits and white gloves, trays were a startling clear silver. I mean sipping on a cappuccino while listening to jazz music soulfully play throughout is heaven to me. Not to mention you can hear absolutely nothing from the outside world; this is a writer’s heaven.
It’s located between Hatchards bookstore and Waterstones, so you get triple bookshopping this way!
Available Online? Yes, they do provide international shipping and have several boutiques in different capitals if you fancy a step in. Just check out their website.
COVID-19 Update | Both the bookshop and its cafe are open, but with possible lockdown happening in the UK you never know 🤷🏽♀️