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One Giant Leap…

Nestled in New York’s Flatiron District, Timothy Oulton’s latest flagship features a life-sized Apollo command module and a three-ton fish tank, all housed in a venerable landmark building.




INITIALLY LAUNCHED AS a small antiques business in 1976, present-day Timothy Oulton (London) serves as a handcrafted furniture designer and retailer with a worldwide reach through 47 galleries, including seven locations in the U.S.

For its latest flagship situated in New York’s Flatiron District (in Lord & Taylor’s former building), the concept for the 7170-square-foot store was conceived by Timothy Oulton’s boutique design practice Timothy Oulton Studio and its in-house, international styling team, which worked in collaboration with McAlpine Contracting (New York), the firm responsible for building out the space.

Selling furniture and high-end decor in a range of materials like ancient rock crystal, industrial metals, natural stone, reclaimed timbers and hand-finished leathers, the store at 901 Broadway – a historic landmark building – was an ideal backdrop for pieces merging modern and traditional aesthetics.

The retailer’s elegant façade features full-height windows and a glass-framed entrance. <small>📷:  <em>Timothy Oulton</em></small>

The retailer’s elegant façade features full-height windows and a glass-framed entrance. 📷:  Timothy Oulton

From the exterior, its glass-framed corner entrance is set at 45 degrees and is surrounded on either side by the façade’s expansive, full-height windows, each framed with heavy black draperies from the interior. Every window’s lower half includes drop decals of the brand’s logo, and backlit pelmet signage can be found toward the top of each, as well as above the entrance.

Shoppers first step into the 1890-square-foot main floor where they’re greeted by sparkling chandeliers, an impressive aquarium and a wall of bowler hats. Throughout the ceiling, a steel grid system allows for the hanging of heavy chandeliers and other decorative ceiling treatments. From the main floor, customers can explore the 344-square-foot mezzanine or the 1221-square-foot lower level that houses an illuminated, moonstone-topped café bar made from hand-cut K9 glass baguettes and polished steel panels.

<small>📷:  <em>Ola Wilk Photography, Brooklyn, N.Y. </em></small>

📷:  Ola Wilk Photography, Brooklyn, N.Y.

The interior also boasts a combination of exposed brick walls and painted gypsum board, wood plank flooring on the main and mezzanine levels, and polished concrete flooring in the basement. “The existing floor was a very old oak floor and [we] wanted to preserve that,” says Adrian Vasile, McAlpine’s Director of Construction Administration, who explains the walls and ceiling were mostly masked in a matte black finish, adding drama and depth.

“Different energy levels are expressed throughout the space. The ground floor is a mixture of relaxed and casual pieces through to more glamorous, high-energy collections,” says Timothy Oulton, Founder and Creative Director of Timothy Oulton. “On the mezzanine level, the mood changes to super chilled … while downstairs has this more urban, industrial feel, with cozy, low ceilings and the bar area.”

The three-ton aquarium (shown right) is just one of many unique and unusual props found throughout the flagship.

The three-ton aquarium (shown right) is just one of many unique and unusual props found throughout the flagship.

The designers faced several interesting and unique challenges, such as incorporating a 9-foot-tall fish tank weighing a whopping three tons near the entrance. The teams had to install a support post underneath to support its weight. “It’s a bespoke installation that houses Derek the Diver, our vintage-inspired homage to Jules Verne, complete with fish. A spreader plate sits directly under the tank and stretches to the foundation below the cellar floor,” says Oulton.

All areas are spattered with vintage collectibles and attention-grabbing props. One in particular is a suspended miniature subway system that loops around the entire basement level. “Luckily, we found a place in Manhattan that happened to have four vintage cars out of production,” says Vasile. A Chicago-based artist then added graffiti art to the cars, reminiscent of 1980s New York. “We designed the track in-house and built it in-house … it’s really quite a nice little piece,” he says.


One of its most unique elements is an Apollo capsule, actually built to the same scale as NASA’s Apollo 11 command module. Assembled onsite and placed in the center of the main level, the module features bespoke tufted seating and crystal lighting in a stainless steel shell, creating an unusual luxury lounge.

“Everything here is designed around giving people a great hosted experience – people often wonder whether they’ve walked into a bar or club, and I love that it feels like that,” Oulton says. “We want people to touch everything, put their feet up on the sofas. For me, this is part of the design – not just the space, but the ethos, the experience, the atmosphere, the way people feel. I want people to walk away from our stores and think ‘flippin’ heck, that was brilliant,’ and even if they don’t buy something today, that’s fine, I just want people to visit us and feel what we do.”

📷:  Ola Wilk Photography, Brooklyn, N.Y.
📷:  Timothy Oulton






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