Library Interior View

Assouline Is Creating An Exclusive Luxe Library


Jordi Lippe-McGraw, 8.19.21

Assouline is known for publishing luxury books that some have sold for close to $5,000. But the publisher is creating something that’s even more exclusive: a private library lounge in 550 Madison that only tenants can access.

The unique partnership is the first of its kind for Assouline and will feature book selections inspired by the landmark tower itself. In addition, there will be a curate section on plants and greenery as it pays homage to the lobby-level public gardens. The art and culture selection reflects what’s found throughout the building’s interior spaces, as well as architecture, history, and sustainability books.

These themes will be made up of the publisher’s own titles like the Assouline’s special edition book Four Seasons Special Edition. These limited edition copies are printed on special textured paper and come in a luxury cloth hardcover. In addition, there will be a curation of outside books, special edition volumes, bookstands, and vintage board games.

“As we continue to share our passion for beauty and culture through our books, it is just as fulfilling to be able to create ambiances that transport others into our unique lens,” Alex Assouline told me. “We are so pleased to partner with 550 Madison in bringing a sense of luxury and creativity to their newly developed space while providing a sophisticated oasis for tenants to enjoy.”

Beyond curating the collection, Assouline also curated the design for the space. That included hand-picked library accessories and “a variety of specialty objects” that are all meant to help “tenants to reclaim a sense of calm from their busy days.” Renderings reveal warm wood floors and walls lined with bookshelves, cozy reading nooks, and scattered tables and chairs with a mid-century modern vibe. Large artwork, sleek lighting, and a large conference table finish the space.

The exclusive library is just one feature of the revamped 850,000-square-foot building designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. When it was completed in 1984, 550 Madison was already a premiere example of postmodernist architecture with the “Chippendale” top that stands out on the New York City skyline. It was later acquired by the Olayan Group in 2016 and became NYC’s youngest landmark in 2018. Award-winning architecture and design firm Rockwell Group designed 550 Madison’s highly-curated amenity collection, including the library.

It is now taking on a new life and being repositioned as a multi-tenant building for the first time. The interior renovation will turn the office tower into the only LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certified building in the Plaza District. Plus, Tenants will get to enjoy city views in all directions, river-to-river sightlines, two floor-to-ceiling monumental artworks by Dorothea Rockburne, and offices overlooking Central Park. And in the fall, the office building will feature a Club Level of amenities, including the Assouline library.

“The completely redeveloped 550 Madison represents best-in-class office space powered by a hospitality-first approach that is generally reserved for luxury residential and hotel offerings,” Erik Horvat, Managing Director and Head of Real Estate at Olayan America, told me. “This partnership with Assouline exemplifies our dedication to creating forward-thinking, unique workspaces that enhance the day-to-day work experience and ultimately support employee engagement, workplace satisfaction, and productivity.”

Read the full article on the Forbes website