April 20, 2011
By Sarah Smith | Shopping, Books


The new boutique from publishing house Assouline, which opened April 15 in London, is much more than a simple bookstore. Assouline Books, Gifts & Lounge, a 1,000-square-foot space set within the venerable Liberty of London department store, is really a cultural salon of sorts. With more than 1,000 Assouline titles in stock, on topics ranging from fashion, art and design to history to travel and food, the shop also offers a collection of vintage tomes that guests can peruse at the classic library table. In addition to the books, the boutique also has literary gift items, like leather book bags, vintage bookends, candles with a "library" scent and a limited-edition Goyard trunk that can shelve up to 100 books. Whereas most libraries forbid food or drink, here it's encouraged: The lounge serves shoppers French Champagne, Italian and Turkish coffee and a variety of teas and homemade sodas. Regent St.; 44-207/573-9680;

Photo Courtesy James Harris for Assouline

March 15, 2011
By Julie Coe | Whims, Books

On July 21, 1933, Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car made its debut to cheering crowds in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Looking nothing like the standard Fords that were its contemporary, the teardrop-shaped three-wheeler had the curved hull of a yacht and was almost zeppelin-like in stature—in fact, it had been built by William Starling Burgess, a preeminent aircraft and boat designer who moonlighted as a poet. It also offered superior gas mileage (35 mpg to the Ford V-8’s 18) and roughly three times the passenger space as the V-8. The car was part of a larger Dymaxion project—the word is a combination of Fuller favorites: dynamism, maximum and tension—that the inventor was working on, which included plans for a Dymaxion house. A combination of setbacks resulted in producing only three of the vehicles. Then, in 2008, British architect Norman Foster, who had worked with Fuller in the ’70s and early ’80s, decided to commission Crossthwaite & Gardiner, a British firm that reproduces ’30s racecars, to create a fourth. Like the originals, no. 4 was built from the chassis and parts of a 1934 Ford V-8 Tudor sedan. The rest was crafted to order, and the creation debuted last fall at Ivorypress Arts + Books Space, a Madrid gallery and bookstore founded by Foster’s wife, Elena Ochoa Foster. Out this month from the gallery’s publishing venture, the 223-page Buckminster Fuller Dymaxion Car uses archival and contemporary blueprints, handwritten notes and sketches, and period photos, including images of the plaster models done by sculptor Isamu Noguchi, to tell the full story of a visionary vehicle that looks just as futuristic today as it did in 1933. $75;

March 02, 2011
By Dispatch Departures | Lifestyle, Books, Cooking


We at DEPARTURES have been looking forward to this moment since we ran Bruce Feiler's article on Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (The Food Lab) in our November/December issue. Well, the wait is finally over: The 2,438-page, six-volume set comes out March 7. Compiled by a team of 30 cooks and researchers, Modernist Cuisine is the brainchild of former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold and his two coauthors, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, both veterans of London's experimental restaurant the Fat Duck. Much more than a standard cookbook, it's an extensive study of food science (explaining, for instance, the anatomy of a grill and how the combustion of meat juices creates aromas and flavors), with a collection of recipes from out-there chefs like Wylie Dufresne and Heston Blumenthal. The 3,500 visuals are stunning: Many are interior shots of food equipment in action, which the photographers captured by bisecting each apparatus and sealing the open side with heat-resistant glass. $625;

Photo Ryan Matthew Smith; The Cooking Lab, LLC