British interiors company Timothy Oulton is on a quest to revive the lost art of hosting with a daring global dinner party project. Four vastly different dinner parties are being hosted on three different continents, with each one built around a different selection from the Timothy Oulton collection.
The events will be attended by guest critic and award-winning British journalist, Jonathan Thompson, who will review each experience. The project has already kicked off in dramatic style in China, followed by L.A. and Amsterdam, with New York soon to follow.
Tim Oulton says: “It’s not just about the furniture or the food, it’s the whole shared experience. It’s the old school attention to detail that really counts and makes a difference. And as a host, when you put in that care and that effort, you end up binding people closer together.”
The idea of hosting lies at the very heart of Timothy Oulton’s ethos, to create inspiring spaces where people can relax together and connect. Rooted in British heritage yet driven by innovation, Timothy Oulton is known for repurposing classic designs with a daring, modern twist. A passion for authentic handcraftsmanship and time-honoured techniques is brought to life in a storied collection that spans furniture, lighting, home accessories and vintage one-off pieces. Dining tables crafted from century-old parquet flooring or in-laid marble inspired by Roman mosaics, sit with benches playfully inspired by antique gym horses or chairs upholstered in hand-distressed buttery leather.
Reviving the Art of Hosting
There is something special about a well hosted dinner party. It’s about a warm welcome, reaching out, and getting closer. It’s about opening up to one another, sharing stories, listening and enjoying. It is this time-honoured ethos of hosting, embedded across ancient cultures across the globe, which Timothy Oulton is on a mission to revive. The best dinner parties start with captivating interiors, but it’s the nuances – the thought-out details, the atmosphere – that really make the night memorable.
The Inspired Projects Beginnings
The project started back in August, when Timothy Oulton launched the search for a Global Dinner Party Critic in partnership with luxury launches site VeryFirstTo.com. After reviewing a competitive pool of more than 400 applicants from all walks of life and from all over the world, Jonathan Thompson was chosen for the coveted role. Jonathan has been working in journalism for 16 years, contributing regularly to The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveller and Tatler. As well as his impressive writing credentials, it was Jonathan’s fearless accolades that really struck a chord with Timothy Oulton, from being the UK’s most experienced male wing walker to undertaking a recent expedition to Antarctica. The role of Dinner Party Critic is not solely a food critic, but to review the whole hosted experience, from menu and interiors to music, welcome, atmosphere, guests and conversation. Travelling to all four destinations, Jonathan will join a top notch guest list for a delectable menu and interiors setting, exploring different expressions of modern hosted dining.
DINNER PARTY 1: CHINA
The first event kicked off last month at the Timothy Oulton showroom in China. Billed as a ‘show-stopping dinner party experience’ on the exclusive invitations, over 100 guests including VIPs, interior designers and press arrived from all over the world in anticipation. As the doors to the dining room opened, enormous theatrical curtains covered in thousands of freshly cut red roses framed the view. A huge 100ft-long white marble table stretched out endlessly, with decadent fruits de mer embedded in a glistening ice trench, custom built into the entire table length. Dramatic chandeliers sparkled overhead with a warm, red glow while Bowler-hatted servers filled champagne flutes. The wheels of conversation whirred as new acquaintances were made, and guests took the opportunity to get to know Tim Oulton and the Design team. The evening ended with cocktails in the London Lounge next door, with some guests celebrating with their dancing shoes atop the great marble table.
DINNER PARTY 2: LOS ANGELES
The gastronomic global circuit continued with the second dinner party, a more intimate affair at the iconic Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown L.A. The fourth floor Blue Room, a speakeasy styled ‘club-within-a-club’, recently designed by Timothy Oulton, played host to a ‘Fun Formal’ dinner party experience for around 20 guests. Entering through a trick bookcase, the crowd made their way up a secret stairwell, once used to store liquor in the Prohibition. Entering the curious Wonderland of the Blue Room, guests were intrigued to find the first page of a different chapter from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped by their place setting. After dining on traditional British fare of roast chicken followed by English cheeses, host Cory Hathaway – whose family have been running the LAAC for six generations – kicked off the night’s party game. Everyone was asked to pluck random sentences from their Kidnapped chapter, passing the narrative to the right in a ridiculous retelling that set off conspiratorial cackles from every corner. The warm, convivial and deliciously friendly atmosphere continued after dinner with cigars on the roof top, overlooking the city skyline.
DINNER PARTY 3: AMSTERDAM
The next leg of this daring crusade continued in Amsterdam at the beautiful Schinkelkerk, a former 19th century church overlooking the famous Vondelpark and home to Timothy Oulton’s European flagship gallery. The theme of the night was ‘Casual & Hearty’ and the interior certainly reflected the mood. The chunky Museum table, laden with buckets of fresh rosemary and sparkling glassware welcomed guests, while Michelin-starred chef Erik van Loo was busy preparing the evening’s feast. The son of a butcher, chef van Loo prides himself on his ‘real’ ingredients and his Cote de boeuf served with crispy beef bacon was lipsmackingly good. After dessert, it was time to unwind, and guests swapped tales and perspectives while passing the Cognac. The night had been all about people coming together: plates shared and relationships built over good food in a welcoming environment. It was nobody’s home, but there was a definite, tangible sense of belonging.
The dining extravaganza will climax in the heart of New York, hotting up with some musicality at the World of McIntosh Townhouse in Soho.
Timothy Oulton has over 30 furniture galleries worldwide from New York to Hong Kong, Dubai and in the grandeur of Harrods in London. Find out more about Timothy Oulton’s captivating dining interiors as well as inspiration and experts’ tips on hosting your own dinner party at timothyoulton.com/dining