The story of Timothy Oulton started back in 1976 with an antiques shop near Manchester, owned by Tim’s father, Major Philip Oulton. After graduating from Ampleforth College in Yorkshire, a boarding school run by Benedictine monks, Tim went to work for his dad. About three months in he became hooked on antiques, falling in love with traditional craftsmanship and enduring design. It was an obsession that would lead him to create his own line of furniture, lighting and accessories, inspired by the past yet relevant for today.
In 2008 Tim opened his first eponymous retail gallery at HD Buttercup in Los Angeles. Over the years the company expanded and now has over 40 galleries worldwide, from New York, London and Sydney to New Delhi, Mexico and Hong Kong. In September Timothy Oulton opened its worldwide flagship at Bluebird on London’s King’s Road to celebrate the brand’s tenth anniversary. ‘We’d been looking for the right place for a long time,’ says Tim, ‘and our Bluebird flagship is a distillation of everything we stand for – heritage, creativity, innovation and hosting – all under one roof.
‘Our Bluebird flagship is a distillation of everything we stand for – heritage, creativity, innovation and hosting – all under one roof’
Our best-known furniture designs stand alongside rare vintage pieces like Louis Vuitton trunks; there’s a yellow submarine submerged in a fish tank, a giant glowing crystal, our own spaceship. I don’t know anywhere else in London where you can drink champagne in a spaceship!’
Tim’s mantra is ‘Be Relevant or Be Dead’ so his collections blend traditional time- honoured craftsmanship with modernity and innovation. At this year’s Milan Furniture Fair, the brand launched its Noble Souls collection, a modular handmade sofa range. The linens are vegetable-dyed using ancient techniques, embodying the concept that true luxury is about blissful moments of reconnection. Timothy Oulton Studio, the brand’s interiors and construction leg, delivers hospitality projects across the world. They include the recently opened 1880 members’ club in Singapore and Timothy Oulton’s first restaurant, Gough’s on Gough, which opened last year in Hong Kong. ‘Our ethos is rooted in being great hosts,’ says Tim, ‘so our aim is to create an experience which deeply touches people.’
Over the years the company expanded and now has over 40 galleries worldwide, from New York, London and Sydney to New Delhi, Mexico and Hong Kong
Timothy Oulton Studio is currently designing a restaurant on King’s Road, a boutique hotel and restaurant in the Middle East and a private residence in England’s Lake District. Meanwhile, the new Timothy Oulton collection launches in stores in early 2019. ‘We’re also looking at some new store openings in the coming year so we have lots to be getting on with,’ says Tim. ‘The stores, the furniture, our hospitality projects – everything is a vehicle for delivering a visceral experience. Being British means having a commitment to quality that will last way into the future.
When I was working in the antiques industry I fell in love with British craftsmanship, things that were built to last, built for empire, almost. It’s not empire that matters so much as that British vision of something that can be handed on to the next generation. Whether in London, New York or Moscow, people want things to have authenticity, heritage and purpose and they sense those qualities in our work.’
Timothy Oulton Bluebird 350 King’s Road London SW3 5UU +44 (0)20 3150 2024