Statement pieces create individuality. This is a well known notion that has persisted since the birth of the hospitality industry. How else can one make a name for themselves, if not through the unique pieces of furniture with which they fill their establishment’s interior? Providing just this is sOak London, a décor manufacturer that has spent nearly a decade developing its eye for distinctive designs. Join us as we take a journey through sOak London’s history, and how it has come to earn itself a place as the UK’s greatest artisan décor manufacturer.
It’s no secret that some of the most beautiful pieces of art are comprised of the natural materials that surround each and every one of us. However, it takes a truly skilled visionary to recognise the potential of otherwise mundane resources, and even more so to adapt them into one-of-a-kind, functional statement pieces. Thankfully, sOak London has such talent in abundance, and has utilised its immense understanding of woodworking, ceramics, and much more to craft timeless showstoppers for its clients. Whether it’s creating surf board servers for Polynesian customers, or designing moss garden servers for Japanese clients, sOak London sets an unwavering standard of quality, longevity, and beauty within the industry.
sOak London is, undoubtedly, a pioneer within its field. Never before has a collective managed to master the art of harvesting naturally fallen timber for commercial use. It stands as a celebration of the natural materials that are all around us, and embeds this value into everything that it does. We have such a beautiful collection of natural resources spanning hundreds upon thousands of miles, and making use of the remains of former forestry is where sOak London truly thrives. It has long since recognised the beauty in the parts of nature that have finally succumbed to their mortality, and gives them a chance to shine again in new and inventive ways.
As a result of the immense value that sOak London places on woodworking, it has managed to accumulate a marvellous catalogue of previously commissioned statement pieces. It has operated alongside a hugely diverse range of clients, from night clubs to high-end, luxury hotels, allowing it to express its expertise through a variety of forms. sOak London is a collective that avidly commits itself to its clients from start to finish, and has consistently gone above and beyond to fully understand the atmosphere within which its products will be placed. Only then can it manufacturer the perfect, bespoke piece, each wildly different from the last.
Every piece that sOak London manufactures within its UK workshop serves a different purpose. Whether this is due to an establishment’s cultural background, or a result of varying aesthetic styles, sOak London seeks to create something that isn’t simply unique, but completely distinct from anything that its clients may have seen before. As such, it comes as no surprise to learn that its work can be found in a handful of the world’s major cities. Diageo, The Connaught Bar, Chotto Matte, Edrington UK, and Zuma are just a few examples of the global game-changers that sOak London has had the pleasure of working alongside, and each one stands as a testament to the irrefutable excellence that its pieces encapsulate.
According to sOak London, one of the most crucial parts of its working methodology is to profile its clients’ style, branding, and history, all so it can develop ideas that are true to the nature of the space. Individuality is a non-negotiable part of sOak London’s processes, and it truly stands by the notion that no feat is impossible, should you possess the imagination to bring it into reality. Whether this manifests through transforming twisted serving trolleys into broken seashells, or utilising the trunk of a tree for a bar’s liquor storage, sOak London marries art and functionality to produce authentic showstoppers.
In recent years, visiting an establishment has become more than just going out for something to eat. People have started to truly place value on the experience that partners visiting a memorable establishment. In response to this demand for the otherworldly and spectacular, sOak London has placed its focus on approaching projects from the lens of a customer. What piece would be unique enough to leave a lasting imprint on an individual’s mind? What would get guests talking and spreading the word of an establishment adorned with fairytale-like décor? Whatever the answer may be, sOak London has every means to uncover it and bring it to life.
However, this eagerness for a drastically new set of experiences isn’t the only change that the hospitality industry has witnessed throughout recent years. Sustainability has come to the forefront of our minds on a global scale, and ensuring ethical responsibility is simply paramount. sOak London has been devoted to this cause since its establishment almost a decade ago, and yet it is constantly maintaining environmentally friendly practises throughout its work. Having formed relationships with suppliers who import timber from around the globe, sOak London has managed to secure a network of sustainably sourced materials, without exception.
sOak London has also proven its dedication to sustainability through the exquisite craftsmanship that it displays when forging each individual, showstopping piece. Everything that it makes is brought together using love, care, and the utmost consideration, each imbued with treatments and preservatives that are designed to maintain the natural wonder captured within. No matter how complex the piece, sOak London is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that every little perfect imperfection is immortalised through sustainable, ethical means. As such, clients receive a beautiful piece of functional artwork to utilise within their establishment, and guests can appreciate the fascinating knots, burrs, and twists that make up the story of the materials’ past life.
To truly understand how sOak London came to be known as one of the world’s greatest artisan décor manufacturers, however, we feel it important to delve into the rich history of this ambitious collective. In 2015, Rob Sumner founded ‘My Hartwood’, which, five years later, became the sOak London that we know and appreciate. As a result of Rob’s passion for wood and nature, partnered with his interest in vehicle building, sOak London was able to adopt a perfect fusion between technical, mechanical, and natural elements. Quality craftsmanship has been on the rise within the past decade, and Rob was at the forefront of collaborating alongside vastly experienced craftspeople in order to create whimsical pieces.
Alas, there is one specific case study that sOak London was eager to share with us, namely
The Coburg Ritual Service that truly outlines the magnificence of this incredible manufacturer. sOak London was commissioned by Edrington UK to produce The Connaught’s Coburg Bar ritualistic serving trolley that perfectly captured The Connaught’s impeccable relationship with Edrington UK Whiskey. The brief was elaborate, complicated, and required a real eye for detail.
Luckily, sOak London possessed the means to deliver on such monumental expectations. Beginning by approaching the design through the eyes of the customer, sOak London identified the feeling that The Connaught was clearly wishing to present, and proceeded to craft a design centred around the relationship mentioned within the brief. This choice was made in the hopes that customers would be able to immerse themselves in the history of the two luxury brands through aesthetics alone. Once the decision was made on how to best portray this long-standing partnership between The Connaught and Edrington UK, sOak London got to work on the finer details.
Namely, it set its sights on integrating the countries of origin, starting with a mapping system that highlighted Scotland, Japan, and North America. From there, it was able to progress onto the actual craftsmanship, with one key intention in mind – to create tomorrow’s antique, today. sOak London went above and beyond to narrow down the appropriate timber for the trolley – a process that required a great deal of skill, experience, and time. In addition, sOak London made sure to broaden its horizons by visiting a multitude of suppliers until it found the exact material it was looking for.
Once the materials were procured and the concept completed, it was time to transform fantasy into fact. Utilising gorgeous Walnut as the base material for the trolley, sOak London began work on breathing life into the project. In the process, it even developed a wholly unique layering technique – one that used hand-cut, leaf-shaped, gold-plated wafers to invite a sense of depth and ornate elegance to an already impeccable design. This, partnered with the inclusion of finely cut diamonds to pinpoint the Speyside region on its map of Scotland, acted as the finishing touches to one of sOak London’s greatest accomplishments to date.
The finished piece represents everything that sOak London is capable of achieving, no matter how complex a brief may be. By uniting metals, scouring suppliers for the perfect wood, and encrusting the surfaces with jewels selected by the Jewellery Quarter’s most renowned goldsmiths, it forged a project that has created a lasting impression on any that have witnessed it. Now, The Coburg Ritual Service Trolley is a popular talking point for the WHISKY sommelier to explain the vast array of flavour profiles, creating an explorative journey, enabling the guests to engage with the ritual, all whilst paying homage to the history of all three regions included in the design.
Following on from this, sOak London were commissioned to produce the now iconic and renowned Embrace Change service trolley for Buffalo Trace.
In short, sOak London is an artisan décor manufacturer that has redefined statement pieces within a hospitality setting. It has kept itself invested in the industry since its inception and, as a result, has been able to recognise the challenges facing the clients that it takes on board. There’s such an overwhelming outcry for new, original ideas, but being able to deliver an engaging project to such a vast amount of reputable clients is, by far, one of the most difficult pursuits that a manufacturer can undertake.
And yet, sOak London’s passion burns brighter than any other décor manufacturer currently operating within the sector. It has devised the perfect answer to all of the qualms facing the hospitality industry, and adapts these solutions into all of its creations. Be it fashioning muti-sensory designs that utilises a wide variety of woods, metals, resins, jewels, and other sustainable materials, or simply concocting something that nobody has ever seen before, sOak London demonstrates a keen awareness of how to capture those ‘wow’ moments within the pieces that it creates. Its works invite excitement – something that the hospitality sphere has been tirelessly chasing for decades.
At its heart, sOak London is an artisan décor manufacturer that truly understands what goes into crafting the most unique and exquisite centrepieces for a variety of restaurants, hotels, and bars. Its brilliance is second to none, and it’s this irreplaceable prowess that has earned it such a fantastic worldwide reputation. We’re exceptionally proud to feature sOak London as part of our Hospitality Awards 2023 supplement – with such an uncontested eye for the little things that make an interior truly pop, it’s clear that sOak London is the go-to for any establishment wanting to make a striking visual statement.
For business enquiries, contact Heather Clawson from sOak London on their website – https://soaklondon.com/