In 1994, Parisian couple Martine and Prosper Assouline vacationed with their sons, Sebastien and Alexandre, to La Colombe D’Or, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant along the French Riviera. Founded in 1920, it was the one of the most popular lodgings for 20th century intelligentsia and artists, particularly during the World Wars; original works of Picasso, Matisse, Satre and Baldwin still line the walls and shelves today, often exchanged for a few nights’ stay.
The Assoulines, cultural connoisseurs and former magazine editors with keen aesthetic eyes, were so drawn to the hotel’s history that they decided to materialize it in the form of a coffee table book, an homage to the resort’s role in French cultural development. La Colombe D’Or: Sant Paul de Vence was the first of their creative editorial endeavors, and today their eponymous publishing house has made over 1,500 books covering art, architecture, fashion, travel, and popular culture, and has featured Chanel, Dior, Goyard, Rolex, Cartier, and Bentley, among others, in their own independent publications.
Assouline’s growth has defied the general downwards trend of the publishing industry, which shrunk by 5.8% over the last five years, as they’ve been able to seize opportunity in the world of luxury printing. Martine, the matriarch at the helm of the house’s robust production and design operation, tells us how they’ve done it, and where she sees the future of publishing, experiential marketing, and luxury branding heading.