Today’s luxury, says Antony Pearce, is not about things.
“Everyone says it’s about experiences, but it’s actually about little moments – moments when we reconnect,” says Pearce, who is head of marketing for British furniture and interiors company Timothy Oulton. “We think we’re connected, but we’re all digitised and globalised,” Pearce continues. “We’re connected here” – Pearce points at his head – “but not here” (he points at his heart). “So how do we create more moments of reconnection?”
This was the question at the heart of Timothy Oulton’s most exciting collection yet: Noble Souls. Espousing the joys of the hand-made, Noble Souls saw Oulton and his team work with artisans in China to create linens that are hand-dyed in indigo, lighting that has been hand-blown in Oulton’s workshops in southern China, and reclaimed timber salvaged from sites across the UK, and from small villages. As well as honouring hand-craftsmanship, the new collection keeps it natural, with delightfully tactile raw finishes for all the wood pieces and 100-percent vegetable dyes for all soft materials.
The result is a collection that looks and feels delicious. It’s so simple, so calming and so comfortable. Here are some of the collection’s standout pieces – items that make you appreciate anew the fact that everything we need is in nature.
See more: Editor’s Picks: Classics reinvented
The Realm sofa
This is quite possibly the most comfortable sofa you’ll ever have the pleasure of sitting on. The cushions are filled with goose down feathers, which create pockets of air that make you feel almost like you’re floating. Realm’s linen covers are dyed using completely natural vegetable dyes using techniques learnt through villagers in Southwest China. The result is linens that feel different from other sofas: they’re pleasing and soft to the touch. The combination of goose feathers, natural materials and low-lying back seat contours make this the perfect sofa for slothing on; you’ll never want to get up.
English Beam coffee table
Another beautifully tactile piece in the Noble Souls collection is the English Beam coffee table. It’s made using 100-year-old timber beams, pillars and joists reclaimed from old barns, distilleries, schools and more. Oulton and his team visit demolition sites to source the wood. They then remove each of the nails by hand as carefully as possible, so as to preserve the timber, and then they restore it so that it can live a new life as part of the Noble Souls collection. The raw, natural finish of this piece, its unique textures and its simple solidity makes it a winner.
Sanctum dining chair
Sanctum is another piece that sees old timber given new life as part of the Noble Souls collection. The chair’s frame is made using fragments of distressed wood, and then it’s fitted with a seat and back made from aniline leather dyed using 100-percent vegetable dyes. The chair’s silhouette gives it a campaign chair feel that would look great in homes both contemporary and classic.
Anchor and Cove pendants
These amber-hued pendant lights celebrate a two-millennia-old craft from Syria. Crafted in Timothy Oulton’s workshops, they have been hand-blown into curving forms that will look beautiful in any home. Mix and match a few Anchor and Cove lights and hang them over a dining table or in an entrance hall for best effect.
Rounding off the Noble Souls collection nicely are the blue-and-white furnishings and accessories, and the cushions in particular drew HJ’s eye. Strip, Band and Motif have been made by villagers in Southwest China, using ancient weaving and indigo-dyeing techniques that have been passed down through generations of mothers and daughters. These come in three different sizes. Also available are cushions made using traditional wax Batik indigo-dyeing methods. A gorgeous finishing touch for any sofa, armchair or bed.
For more attention-worthy furniture designs, head on over to our Design section.