Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Exciting News for Booklovers: The Elegant New Rizzoli Flagship Bookstore Opens in New York

As a book author (22 and counting), and an avid book collector, and a passionate book reader, and a daily bookstore visitor (yes)…I am thrilled that Rizzoli has found a glamorous and superbly designed new home in New York. It’s so chic, I wish I could make it my new pied-a-terre in Manhattan.

Rizzoli, opened the doors of its dazzling and inspiring new flagship bookstore in an historic building in New York. Great. Rizzoli is my publisher. My books are there (see my bookcovers below.)

Rizzoli is proud to announce that it opened its new flagship bookstore on Monday, July 27th at 1133 Broadway in the heart of New York City’s NoMad district. Just three blocks north of Madison Square Park and steps away from myriad cultural destinations, the 5,000 square foot space occupies the ground-floor level of the historic St. James Building, dating back to the early 19th century. 

The newly envisioned Rizzoli Bookstore captures the classic architectural experience for which the former bookstore locations were celebrated, integrated into a new vision that matches today’s tastes and the energy of its new location.

“For more than 50 years, the Rizzoli bookstore has attracted discerning patrons from around the globe and provided beautifully produced volumes on art, design, interiors, fashion, as well as literature, and important non-fiction books. We believe we have found the perfect location for our new flagship bookstore and we look forward to joining this vibrant community of innovative thinkers,” said Laura Donnini, CEO of RCS Libri, the book publishing arm of the Milan based RCS MediaGroup. “We expect our customers—both New York-based, and visiting from all points national and international—to embrace the 21st century version of their favorite bookstore.” 

Nationally recognized design firm Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects led the creation of the bookstore’s interiors under the helm of partner and co-founder Thomas A. Kligerman.

Inspired by the grandeur of the building and the neighborhood’s modernity, the new Rizzoli boasts an imposing 18’ tall by 34’ wide glass façade that showcases the interior’s eighteen-foot ceilings, a dramatic peaked skylight, and an expansive windowed salon entered via an striking red mullioned pivot door.

Many of the classic fixtures from the 57th Street store have been preserved and re-introduced in the new space, including its cherry wood bookcases and grand brass and iron chandeliers. 

Design Details

The celebrated St. James building, designed in 1896 by renowned architect Bruce Price, is a striking combination of stone, brick, terra cotta, iron, and copper in the Beaux-Arts style, with extensive detailing inside and out. The Rizzoli space boasts thirty-five feet of frontage on Broadway and sits next to what was the Havana Tobacco Company, designed by the illustrious firm McKim Mead & White.

The interior design of the new flagship combines the Gilded Age details of the 1896 structure, and the lauded history of Rizzoli, exemplifying innovative design principles of the 21st century. The layout is comprised of three primary rooms – the Nave, Skylight and The Salon – and embodies the vision of Rizzoli as a temple of ideas and a magnet for the creative minds thriving in urban New York. 

Rendering of the Nave of the new store by Ike Kligerman Barkley Architects

The Nave, or central axis of the space, draws the eye through the length of the bookstore via a striking, black and white Belgian marble floor inspired by the Palio flags of Siena. The north wall of the Nave is comprised of three grand alcoves framed by gleaming black columns.

Each alcove features original Rizzoli bookcases restored from the 57th Street location and iconic chandeliers that graced both the Fifth Avenue and 57th Street stores illuminate overhead.

The first alcove houses fiction, non-fiction, biography, history, and current bestsellers; the second is for cooking, entertaining, lifestyle; the third for art history monographs and museum exhibition catalogues. 

Inward-facing alcoves, along the south wall, are nine bays of literature, trade paperbacks, poetry, belles lettres, philosophy, criticism and a curated selection of stimulating and inspiring work by authors from Vladimir Nabokov and Martin Amis to Christopher Hitchens and Donna Tartt, plus first novels by small independent presses and classics from Austen to Zola.

The Nave leads to a release into the Skylight room, a perfect square crowned by a fine-grained pattern of glass block ceiling, which had been painted over during the World War II for blackouts. The slight upward pitch of the Skylight’s ceiling, framed by cross beams with hidden track lights, evokes an entirely different ambiance than the Nave and will house books on fashion, photography, and the performing arts, along with music CDs and classic film DVDs.

A dramatic, 18-foot red mullioned door separates The Skylight room from The Salon – a striking room with four large piers, four soaring 12-foot tall windows and intimate window benches cleverly designed to allow one to get lost in the pages of a book. This space houses the heart of Rizzoli’s inventory selection – from architecture and design to new and classical Italian and French fiction. Inside of the Salon, four Crown Summa chandeliers designed by Jehs + Laub and four 637 Utrecht chairs, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, pay homage to Rizzoli’s sister store in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

Fornasetti Murals

Fornasetti Milano designed custom-made wallpapers exclusively for the Rizzoli flagship, produced by Cole & Son, manufacturers of fine printed wallpapers since 1875.

The designs run as a frieze above the bookcases to the ceiling in all three grand rooms of the store, and feature surreal motifs of Italian cities floating in the clouds, hot air balloons, Zodiac figures and the classic Fornasetti collage of newspaper fragments overlaid with colorful butterflies. The Serliana arch features the submerged Milan Duomo with fishes swimming by.

The trompe-l’oeil images were designed under the creative direction of Barnaba Fornasetti and tailored for each space: The north wall in the Nave shows Italian cities floating in the clouds, the submerged Milan Duomo sits within the Serliana arch, while balloonists above the arch spirit visitors away to literary heights. The south wall shows figures from the Zodiac and skies. We see the classic Fornasetti storm-clouds in the Skylight Room with the Sun peeking out on the South wall, and the Moon shining through on the North. In the Salon, the classic newspaper collage with butterflies pay tribute to our parent company RCS Media Group, Europe’s premier publisher of important newspapers such as Corriere della Sera. 

Publisher and Vice President, Rizzoli, Charles Miers and fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg attend the Rizzoli Bookstore Preview Party on July 21, 2015 in New York City.

Architect Thomas A. Kliegerman 

Head of Communication, Rizzoli Milan, Carlo Rossanigo, CEO of RCS Libri Laura Donnini, President and CEO, Rizzoli New York, Marco Ausenda, and Senior Business Director of Rizzoli Jennifer deForest Pierson

Architect Thomas A. Kliegerman and Head of Communication, Rizzoli Milan, Carlo Rossanigo

Andre Leon Talley with Publisher and Vice President, Rizzoli, Charles Miers

President and CEO, Rizzoli New York, Marco Ausenda, Console generale d'italia a New york Natalia Quintavelle, and Head of Communication, Rizzoli Milan, Carlo Rossanigo 

Events Space

The Salon will be the home of active, high-profile cultural and business programming including:

• Author book launches, readings, and exhibitions

• Ticketed concerts, film screenings , panel discussions

• Rental of the space for sponsored lecture series, private parties, fashion presentations, and new product launches

Publisher and Vice President, Rizzoli, Charles Miers, fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg and CEO of RCS Libri Laura Donnini at the Rizzoli Bookstore Preview Party on July 21, 2015 in New York City.

Charles Miers and Laura Donnini 

Laura Donnini and Diane Von Furstenberg

My Books

When you visit the new Rizzoli bookstore, please find my books in the new Architecture and Interior Design section.

Among my recent Rizzoli books are:

Jean-Louis Deniot Interiors

Ann Getty Interior Style

Orlando Diaz-Azcuy

Michael S. Smith Elements of Style

Santa Barbara Living

Background: History of Rizzoli and the Rizzoli Bookstore

Angelo Rizzoli founded his eponymous company in 1927, establishing a respected publishing house, a prominent film production company, and eventually merging with the preeminent Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. Today, Rizzoli in America is an integral part of its parent company, RCS MediaGroup.

In 1964, Mr. Rizzoli was inspired to open a new-world outpost in New York to sell the beautiful illustrated books he published in Italy and the elegant landmarked town house on Fifth Avenue became the center of the company’s national expansion.

In 1985, the Rizzoli bookstore moved to 31 West 57th Street, the former Sohmer & Co. piano showroom, with interiors designed by Hugh Hardy of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer. The lovely limewood Serliana arch, flanked by gilded scalloped bookcases with boiserie pilasters originally designed for the 1964 shop, was moved to the 57th Street store, with pride of place on the piano nobile of the three-story bookstore, and has been moved once again to the new store.

In 2013, Rizzoli learned its lease on 57th Street would not be renewed and begun the search for its new destination. Today, the Rizzoli flagship is situated in the thriving NoMad District alongside high-end retailers like Eataly, and Marimekko; restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, The Breslin and SD 26; and prevalent hotels like the Ace, NoMad, and the newly launched Edition Hotel.


About Rizzoli

Rizzoli International Publications in the U.S. is a subsidiary of RCS Libri, the book publishing arm of the Milan based RCS MediaGroup. In Italy, RCS Libri includes among its imprints Rizzoli, Bompiani, Fabbri, Sonzogno, Adelphi, and Marsilio, and operates in the educational book market with several other imprints.

About RCS MediaGroup
RCS MediaGroup is one of the world’s major multimedia groups and is active in all publishing sectors including newspapers, magazines, books, TV, radio, online and social media, events, advertising, and distribution, with leading brands such as Corriere della Sera, El Mundo, Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca, Rizzoli and Giro d’Italia. With nearly 4,000 employees worldwide, RCS reaches over 1.2 billion euro in revenues and almost 9 million unique daily users of its properties in more than 250 countries.

Information for book lovers:
The store will be open seven days a week. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays store hours will be from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM. On Thursdays and Fridays from 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM, and on Sundays from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

For more information customers can call 212-759-2424, email or visit

All images courtesy of Rizzoli USA.


Splenderosa said...

Oh, Diane, what a MOST interesting post. I love Rizzoli and have been to the original shop many many times. We were all sad to learn it would be leaving it's location...but, now we're not sad. This is wonderful news!! So happy you gave us so much detail & pics.

peggy braswell said...

what News + Rizzzoli is back + how exciting.

SALLY said...


Thank you for introducing me to Rizzoli. Although I've been to NYC many times, I have never taken the time to visit book stores, which I always make time for in smaller locales. I will be sure to visit this amazing space in October when I return!
Always such a pleasure to read your blog. Thanks everso for all the work you put into it!