In Review: Assouline Travel Books

It is hard to miss the range of Assouline travel books when taking a wander through our Reading Room as the selection of colourful coffee table books cries out for attention – and, on closer inspection, this consideration is warranted. These publications traverse book and object – with their own strong graphic identity they offer the versatility of being enjoyed as a work of art in themselves, as well as a reference tool.

Assouline World Travel Books

Founded in Paris in 1994 by Prosper and Martine Assouline, the publishing company felt compelled to create a new, contemporary style of book, using the couple's experienced eye for visually rich stories and compelling narratives. The respect for the product and the process of creation is evident in every facet – from the traditional technique of hand-binding covers to the imagery that transports the reader to another place and time, and the luxurious thickness of each page. With the purpose of facilitating the establishment of a contemporary library, the Assouline list now covers over 1500 publications, allowing customers to mix genres, build collections or simply indulge in a veritable visual feast.

This aesthetic delight is especially evident in this travel collection where large, photographic spreads, often over two pages, reveal the style, culture and architecture of a destination. From the exotic souks of Marrakesh to the luxury retreats of Palm Beach, each book peels back the layers and builds a sense of place, exposing its energy and signature style.

Contributors tend to be modern muses, ranging from actors to art consultants and writers, those able to spin the stories of past and present; the only prerequisite is having a finger on the pulse of what makes the place cool, edgy and vibrant. Professional photographers illustrate this to best effect through wonderful imagery, whilst historic black and white photographs are used to represent the glamour of a bygone age, intrinsic to the notoriety of the destination. Captions are collated together at the rear of the book, allowing the photo essays to show and tell in a blissful extravagance of undiluted colour, punctuated only by an occasional quote to harness the imagery to the locale.

The result is a photographic journal like no other, tantalising and aspirational, displaying what lies at the heart of a desirable destination and allowing us to indulge in its exploration from the confines of our sitting room. Guaranteed to give you wanderlust, these books can represent places of the heart or inspirational bucket list dreams; the only complication is deciding which one appeals most.