A comparatively new-on-the-scene Bay Space nonprofit has introduced its acquisition of a permanent San Francisco establishment that has served as a mecca for architecture- and-design-minded bibliophiles for simply shy of fifty years: William Stout Architectural Books.
The information comes following a 12 months of talks between the Petaluma-based Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, which formally launched simply this April, and the beloved bookstore’s namesake sole proprietor. Popping out of the turbulence of the COVID disaster in 2021, Stout, like many longtime small enterprise house owners battered by the pandemic, started to ponder his retirement. That is when the fledgling Eames Institute, helmed by Charles and Ray’s granddaughter Lisa Demetrios within the function of chief curator with backing from Airbnb cofounder Joe Gebbia, stepped in focus on how the legacy of Stout Books may finest be preserved.
As detailed in a press launch saying the change of possession, which was formally accomplished on October 1, not a lot will change by way of day-to-day operations following Stout’s departure. Famed for its huge collection of titles (notably uncommon and out-of-print tomes) referring to structure, panorama structure, city planning, and design in its myriad kinds, the bookseller’s brick-and-mortar location at 804 Montgomery Avenue in downtown San Francisco’s historic Jackson Sq. neighborhood isn’t going anyplace. The shop’s on-line storefront will proceed catering to clients far and extensive. Workers members are additionally being retained throughout the transition. And as for Stout himself, he’ll stick round as a wisdom-holding marketing consultant who clearly is aware of the shop’s large stock—and its sizable legion of loyal clients—higher than anybody else.
“The celebs appear to be aligned in 2022, and I’m so enthusiastic about this new chapter for Stout. We’ve all determined to maintain the path of the store intact for the longer term, which I really feel is a tribute to all events concerned and an actual boon for the design neighborhood as an entire,” Stout stated in an announcement.
“The Eames Institute’s shared ardour for design makes it a logical match for the store,” he added. “It’s with pleasure that I hand over the operation of the store and am excited to proceed to be concerned as a marketing consultant to the Eames Institute. I wish to thank everybody for being supportive of the store over its 48 years of existence.”
(Digging manner again into the AN archives, you possibly can learn a 2009 interview with Stout right here.)
As for Gebbia, principal patron of the Eames Institute, he’s additionally a longtime buyer of San Francisco’s fabled architectural bookstore. The Georgia-born billionaire moved to the town after graduating from the Rhode Island College of Design to work as a designer at Chronicle Books within the mid-aughts. And like all San Francisco-based designers and design lovers, William Stout’s bookstore quickly turned a fixture.
“William Stout is a real testomony to the significance of design, and his retailer is an entire treasure,” stated Gebbia. “The legacies of Ray and Charles Eames and William Stout go hand in hand as a few of the most cherished and influential individuals within the design neighborhood right here in California, and it’s an honor to meld these two collectively by way of the Eames Institute.”
As talked about, the Eames Institute was formally launched simply this 12 months with headquarters positioned on the William Turnbull–designed Eames Ranch in Petaluma, a small Somoma County metropolis within the Bay Space’s North Bay area. Nonetheless working as a working farm because it was when bought in 1992 by Lucia Eames, daughter of Charles Eames, the ranch is at present present process a serious, multi-year revitalization effort forward of its eventual public opening. Within the interim, Stout Books will function an outpost of types for the institute the place clients and the general public can study extra in regards to the mission of the Eames Institute and its holdings. Along with the ranch itself, these holdings together with the Eames Assortment, which is comprised of a lion’s share of the contents from the unique Eames Workplace in Los Angeles. Whereas it has not staged any in-person exhibitions, the Eames Institute has offered a collection of on-line reveals since launching. This consists of the latest Return to Sender, which showcases a pleasant trove of globetrotting, snail mail–based mostly correspondence from Charles and Ray Eames.
AN could have extra on this altering of the guard within the coming weeks.