Claire de Rouen opens new London store
We talk to Claire de Rouen director Lucy Kumara Moore about re-opening a physical space and having a shopfront for the first time.
When Lucy Kumara Moore discovered a stunning Victorian store in the heart of London she knew she had found the new home of Claire de Rouen – the must-visit bookshop for photography lovers.
Following a series of special events, the store is now open every Saturday, from 10am to 5pm, and Sunday, 10am to 4pm.
Kumara Moore tells us what makes Claire de Rouen’s new home so special and why she is glad to be able to offer a community space once again.
A space for an eclectic audience
“Claire de Rouen has always been about its community and its audience,” says Kumara Moore.
“It is non-hierarchical in the sense that there are people just starting out on their photographic careers. Some of the most established photographers in the world might visit, or people looking for a present, or doing research.
“So it’s very eclectic, the audience, and I think it’s really special when they meet or they’re just in the same space, and we can have conversations.
“And that’s just something that you can’t do online. The online shop is still going strong, but it feels good to be able to have a physical space where people can talk and look at books in reality.”
Historic location – new audiences
The opening of the new store in historic Globe Road, London, marks a turning point for Claire de Rouen.
Previously, the store has never had a ground-floor shopfront.
“In the past few years, I’ve explored other options for a space, but none of them have really felt right,” she says.
“This is a ground floor, Victorian shopfront so that feels very exciting. I just really like that area, that road and that shop and it just felt like the right thing for Claire de Rouen.”
Her instinct proved right when, even before the shop officially opened, passers-by were stopping to ask what was happening.
“A lot of them are already very interested in photography, or fashion or art. So that’s been really exciting.
“It’s kind of like meeting a whole new group of people for me, which is great. Also the light is really beautiful in there.”
Stock in the new Claire de Rouen store is curated into different thematic groups.
These vary from explorations of family and relationships to independent publications in unconventional mediums.
“There might be a box of prints, or there’s a newsprint publication that comes in a screen-printed box,” says Kumara Moore.
“Then there’s a whole group on erotic imagery and desire. There’s also an emphasis on contemporary writing, covering fiction, cultural commentary and critical theory.”
New additions to the shop include publications by Francesca Allen and Lewis Ronald who both took part in special opening-weekend events.
A new voice
The new shop is not the only change at Claire de Rouen. Last November, Lilly Markaki joined Kumara Moore as a director.
Markaki has been key in driving forwards the focus on contemporary writing.
“I wanted to have another voice in there who I could share ideas with and also learn from,” says Kumara Moore.
“Together, we’re definitely placing an emphasis on work by women, but not exclusively.”
Visiting Claire de Rouen
Claire de Rouen can be found online at shop.clairederouenbooks.com.
The store location is 260 Globe Road, London, E2 0JD.
Follow Claire de Rouen books on Instagram for the latest event news.
Upcoming events include plans for a reading group this summer and an event with author Philippa Snow in September.