TIMOTHY OULTON ON THE INSPIRATION BEHIND HIS FURNITURE DESIGN
Famed for his antique-inspired furniture, here Timothy Oulton reveals the key influences to his signature style
How would you describe your style?
It’s a very modern, daring viewpoint, heavily infused with heritage. There’s character and soul to what we do, the materials we use – whether it’s 100 year old timber from an English distillery or Argentinian leather we distress by hand – it’s about authenticity.
What are your key influences?
Working in the antiques industry has had a huge impact on me, that’s how it all started. I wanted to make pieces that had that same sense of history, pieces that told their own story, that were authentically handcrafted using the old techniques, but pieces that would be useful and relevant for now.
How does British heritage and style inform your designs?
British heritage is threaded throughout all our collections. Inspiration could come from an antique, a piece of art, literature or architecture. The roots are in British heritage but we’re driven by innovation, that collision of old and new is what makes our pieces so distinctive.
What are the key pieces in your A/W collection?
The Zodiac dining table is pretty special, it’s crafted from individual pieces of marble, inlaid in a geometric pattern. The effect is almost mesmerising, it really draws you in. The Ivy sofa, and the Honeypot side and coffee tables are also standouts.
How does a British audience differ from those buyers from overseas?
I think the people who like us are definitely similar-minded, it doesn’t matter whether they’re in the UK, New York, Sydney or Moscow. They’re people who seek something extraordinary, whether it’s in their home or in life.
What sort of homes suit your collection?
Great design always encompasses pieces from different time periods and styles, your home should be filled with pieces that make you smile. Our collections are timeless, they look every bit at home in an old Victorian cottage as they do in a modern loft apartment.
What are your favourite pieces in the new collection and why?
Vagabond leather is one of my favourite new finishes, it looks incredible on the Westminster and Ivy sofas. The leather is treated by hand over and over again so it takes on this perfect, authentic distressed look. Also the Aviator Dogfight, it’s a new version of the Aviator Tomcat chair, one of my all-time favourite pieces, but we’ve clad it in new leather Spitfire to give it that rugged warmth.
A lot of your furniture is very dark and dramatic; are you ever tempted to go for an all-white look?
We bought out a collection last year called Coastal Drift which is a lot lighter and brighter than anything we’ve done before. There’s an insanely comfortable feather and down sofa called Wave that looks great in white linen. We also have a leather finish called Vintage Bianco, and a new one called Wrecked White, that look great on sofas, dining chairs or trunks. They’re not a true white because they’re both heavily aged and hand-distressed to give them a bit of guts and character.
Who are your design heroes and why?
I’d have to say Ralph Lauren and Axel Vervoordt. Ralph Lauren manages to blend luxury with simplicity in a way that is extremely unique. Axel Vervoordt has always been a huge inspiration for me, he was originally an antiques dealer who has guided his company to become a global entity in antiques, design and art. He has this ability to mix styles and periods in an unexpected way.