When thinking about art, it is easy to default to the world of galleries, exhibitions and frames on walls - however, at D’Stassi Art we want to explore the artform in all of its expressions. In this article we will be diving into the world of books. More specifically, the way that London’s premiere purveyor of rare, aesthetically pleasing books has amassed a cult following. IDEA Books is located at Dover Street Market in Soho, London - they have made a name for themselves by buying and selling rare books that are often as beautiful as they are elusive.
Yves Uro - Urovision (Softcover with spot gloss embossing)
The company was co-founded by Angela Hill and David Owen, with their daughters Iris and Edith supplying the other two letters for the store’s name. Their rise to prominence is striking given that it was built, at the beginning, out of an unassuming office that was accessible by appointment only. Clearly, IDEA Books’ uncanny ability to source the finest used tomes was the fuel for their impressive growth. With over 475,000 followers on Instagram and a wildly successful online store, IDEA Books have fostered a community of like-minded individuals.
This committed fanbase is key to the company’s success, with the carefully selected titles often selling out in moments of being posted on social media. “Usually it would sell within a minute,” David Owen told Cool Hunting in 2015. “You hear the phone making a buzzing sound when you’ve put the first picture up, and by the time you’ve put the third up, there are three people after it.” These are books made by creative folk, for creative folk - wonderfully designed, disarmingly striking with stories and historical backgrounds to match. “What we do is the same as we’ve always done,” David continues. “If we’re in a store and a customer comes in and shows some interest in a book, we’ll open it to a certain double page where Charlotte Rampling’s legs go on forever, she looks incredible. And then they’ll buy the book. Done, sold. That’s the same as what we now do—six times a day, times three pictures.”
Dave Swindells - Ibiza '89 (Softcover with gold foiling)
It is a curated selection of arrestingly collectible pages - from an erotic cookbook that Salvador Dali wrote in the 70’s, to scarce books on the 80’s East Village scene, a rare Jeff Koons publication and a 1989 book of t-shirts designed by the staff of Apple. On the selection process Angela Hill told ‘It’s Nice That’ that it is, “Just an immediate feeling that it is right, that it has a really strong appeal to a lot of people either because it is aspirational or funny or just very, very beautiful.” This laser sharp focus on seeking out the ‘right’ books has seen IDEA go from strength to strength. They now have stores in London, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris - alongside an ever growing online shop and social media presence. There seems to be no sign of them slowing down, so you’ll be able to get your perfect paper fix for the foreseeable future.
The D'Stassi Art team.