Book bound and woven amongst the fashion and art world, Alex shares with us a narrative of his own.
Alex is reflective as much as he is visceral and there is no doubt that talent is intwined within the family. Assouline Publishers are a reputable family-built company with a sophisticated eye for library curation. Their coffee-table pieces have occupied names from Chanel to Dior and with over 20 years in the making, we want to to introduce to you style and icon and heir of this publishing power-house – Alex.
Tell us a bit about your publishing firm and what you specialise in doing.
Assouline was founded in Paris by my parents in 1994 and has since grown into a worldwide brand. Nowadays I spearhead global marketing and digital operations in addition to overseeing the interior design branch of the company, curating libraries worldwide.
So where did it all begin?
I was raised in the publishing industry surrounded by books and authors so along the way I subconsciously developed an interest in curating culture and aesthetics. I studied graphic design and advertising as a way to hone those passions.
What is that constantly inspires you, the thing that keeps you driven?
I’m most inspired when I’m interacting with people. Conversation is at the root of all my ideas.
How do you seperate work life and daily life?
I don’t believe in separating work life and daily life. I love being immersed in my work and I’m passionate about it, as a result it’s seamlessly integrated into everything I do. I equally relish my early mornings in the office as I do my time relaxing and gathering inspiration.
In the industry, who do you look up to?
There are so many brilliant minds in the creative realm right now it makes it hard to choose. I like to draw elements from everyone – I look up to the individuality in each person.
What are key elements you look for when curating a library?
Whenever I take on a new library project I always do an in-person walk through (if I am able) to get a feel for the location. It’s important to understand who will be enjoying the space, not just the design itself, so I spend time there and get to know every corner.
Where do your passions lie within?
I love any physical manifestation of personality and have an incurable appetite for furniture design. The endless variations rooted in, for example, the simple practicality of a chair are fascinating to me.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t in this industry?
I admire the art of entertaining people and giving them an experience so if I weren’t in publishing I’d undoubtedly be in hospitality.
Besides Assouline being a reputable family-built brand, what is unique about your firm?
The fact that we are a family-built brand seeps into all areas of the business and makes us unique, most notably the fact that the entire team is housed in one office. You can walk from desk to desk and see every step of the creative process in one swoop, which I tend to do regularly.
What are 3 fashion pieces you couldn’t live without?
On any given day you’ll find me wearing a suit, a pair of suspenders from my vintage collection, and my Cartier watch given to me on my 18th birthday so I’d have to say those three.
What are the most important things you want to achieve in your life?
I don’t necessarily stress tangible achievements, above all else I hope to inspire people and feed their creative drives.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
When I was young I was especially contemplative and reserved. I learned the art of self-presentation from my mother. She would always encourage me to smile, something so elementary, but now that I’m in business the act of putting someone at ease and showing them that you’re present is essential.
What is it about print that is so intriguing for audiences?
I find print so beautiful because it is, above all else, an experience. You feel the weight of each page, hear the sound of the binding, and soak in each image. More often these days I find that people are drawn to its simple tangibility.
Interesting fact about yourself?
I’m terribly restless. I have to be active at all times to feel like I’m progressing. I’m the only person in the office with a standing desk because I can’t take the complacency of sitting still while writing emails. Many view publishing very much like the act of reading – slow and tranquil – I like to think I’m breaking that mold.
In your opinion, why do you think published pieces play a significant role in peoples lives?
Books in their true form can for a single person signify an entire spectrum of emotions. You can learn so much about a person through the books they own, but contrastingly you’ll never fully grasp a person’s relationship with their collection. It’s an impossibly enticing duality.
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