More of a gallery than a store, Timothy Oulton, on Gough Street, Central, showcases a curated range of the British founder's best-loved designs as well as various vintage pieces. Oulton's background in antiques and his passion for traditional craftsmanship are reflected in a collection of modernised classics. There are 18 Timothy Oulton stores worldwide, including eight in Europe and two on the mainland, in Beijing and Shanghai. Lucas Vitali, who manages the one in Hong Kong, gives the lowdown on the NoHo newcomer.
What sets your store apart from other retailers in Hong Kong? "The concept and the product mix. We have bags, furniture, vintage and decorative pieces. You can come here and decorate your home from top to bottom."
How does history play a role? "It plays a huge part. Timothy comes from a military family so he's always had a fascination with military-inspired design and classic regimental colours. Timothy's father, Major Philip Oulton, opened an antiques store near Manchester, in 1976, while his son was attending boarding school in an old Benedictine monastery. Both of these places inspired his classic English style."
What are the brand's signature pieces? "The Mars chair [above right; HK$17,990], one of our most iconic pieces worldwide, has elements of art deco. While retaining its 1930s-style proportions, the chair has been updated with hand-moulded metal and distressed, vintage leather. In Hong Kong, the Tom Cat [top; HK$18,690] is the most popular piece. The second world war Spitfire fighter plane inspired Timothy in this design. Part of the Aviator range, the Tom Cat boasts aerodynamic curves hugged in riveted aluminium, while the seat and back are swathed in ribbed leather."
Tell us about your vintage selection. "The pieces are all from Britain. We ship them to Hong Kong every two to three months. We have our own flea market seekers, who go to the antiques markets and search for pieces. It's a bit like Christmas when we open the containers. We never know what we're getting."
Where do you source the reclaimed items? "The Axel collection - the table, the mirror, the shelves - are all made on the mainland [to Oulton's designs] from wood reclaimed from Chinese junks."
Describe the craftsmanship in your pieces. "All the wood is painstakingly hand nailed and hand sanded. There is no mass production in our products, no machines. We keep the soul of hand craftsmanship. No pain, no gain. Tim confirms every design before it goes into the workshop."
How do you help clients incorporate your line into a more modern setting? "We have a service where designers can come to your place and help match all your pieces. If you want the full Timothy Oulton room, just give us your floor plan."
Timothy Oulton is at 15 Gough Street, Central, tel: 2161 1742.