Assouline, works at the forefront of the world of rarified publication. Since the mid 90’s, they have been working to develop an expansive library composed of beautiful books with beautiful content. Each beautiful object of cultural transmittance is intended to be shared. When exploring the contents of a fine book with a close friend, the transmittance of concepts, both from the book and between the two consciousnesses observing it, create spiritual energy spikes that rejuvenate more than they exhaust. At Leisure Center, we aim to provide a space for both appreciation and connection, particularly with the launch of our new lounge. Our newly installed Assouline book corner sits alongside the reimagined relaxation space as an invitation to get lost in the information that is available. This marks Assouline’s first expansion into Canada, making Leisure Center, and Vancouver, a destination for luxury print material.
Though the summer is a time of amusement and activity, we must now reintroduce the importance of continued learning. We as humans can only benefit from exposure to new information, regardless of the form it takes. Books, in particular, provide an unparalleled experience in learning. The physical act of turning through pages and seeing light reflected back to your eyes creates a far greater connection to the visual material than the projections of the digital screen. A book presents a finite compilation of relevant, connected ideas that are contained within an objective housing. Where the unending slew of information provided by the internet cannot be fully trusted, that which is presented as a physical object is often more reliable. The book becomes a physical representation of information and its exchange between hands brings with it an intrinsic exchange of ideas.
Today, as the internet and digital content continue to leech into all aspects of our life, the book represents something different than it did when the mass paperback ruled print. For the very reason that have become less pragmatic, books have become intrinsically more valuable. For publishers like Assouline the book itself is the object of desire. Furthermore, the book is not limited by scale as is the screen of the ever present smartphone. When browsing on a smartphone, or even a laptop, there is a limit to the detail of an image. A zoom can only take you so far whereas physically approaching a printed image with your photon receptors (your eyes) provides a true magnification of the visual representation at hand.
Yet another reason for the book’s continued importance as a means of cultural transmittance is its permanence. Though the internet and the many digital hard drives around the world house an unfathomably thorough archive of information, they are very easily tainted. All the information on the cloud could be reduced to a memory with a few well placed keystrokes while the information stored on physical disks is inaccessible without complex machinery. Conversely, print, specifically high quality print like Assouline, is constant. It can be damaged and destroyed but at great effort. It is a package of information that can be physically transported and protected from all those that would threaten its existence.
As tensions mount on the global geopolitical stage, the internet may take on many new forms. We have already seen a growing trend in the censorship of information deemed sensitive or unsuitable for general consumption - a phenomenon which may only become further extrapolated. The result could be a very different internet that is ruthlessly governed by those that would take advantage of humanity itself. Should this be the case, the book will once again rise to ultimate prominence as the medium through which the most thought provoking and important ideas are proliferated. The book is not only a means of teaching but also serves as a symbol of focus as it is often compiled to contain great amounts of information. The non-searchability of a book also brings about some form of purity to that which it contains. There is a general guide as to where and what you may find in a book through glossary and index, but there is no way to navigate instantly. In order to fully understand all that is contained within, one must explore the entire object, cover to cover. Only then can the true purpose of the book be achieved.