At the crossroads of east and west, an exotic and heady mix of tradition and modern delights await in the fascinating city of Istanbul. A city of meeting, Istanbul’s atmospheric nostalgia, history and romance makes it the perfect setting for Timothy Oulton’s very first café – the Sark Kahvesi, located in the heart of the world’s oldest and most famous market – the Grand Bazaar.
For centuries, Istanbul has captured the imagination of creatives, from artists to composers such as Mozart, to poets including Lord Byron, who landed in Istanbul in 1810 during his famous Grand Tour. The bustling Grand Bazaar was constructed in 1455 as a centre for local trade, and its myriad of covered streets are peppered with over 4,000 shops, trading under the Bazaar’s magnificent architectural domes and enormously high archways.
The Sark Kahvesi café is one of the Bazaar’s small number of licensed coffee shops, recently reinvented by the team at Timothy Oulton Studio, our boutique design practice. The bustling café, furnished in inimitable Timothy Oulton style, leads through to our first retail gallery in Istanbul, coupling Timothy Oulton’s passion for creative design with our deep ethos of hospitality, all under one roof.
Steeped in authentic materials at every turn, the Sark’s distressed limestone flooring contrasts with white rendered walls and the raw, exposed stone of the original Bazaar, bearing testament to centuries of history.
Black marble-clad columns and walls are echoed in the richly-veined green marble and brass dining tables. In homage to Turkey’s long history of rug weaving, banquettes are upholstered in tactile velvet printed with a vintage rug pattern. Bistro dining chairs and tufted leather stools add to the layers of different materials and textures to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
The ceiling is hung with oversized Classic Volt chandeliers from the Timothy Oulton collection, pairing a lightweight wire frame with shards of polished glass in place of traditional crystals. More drama is added with huge potted olive trees, and roof skylights harness the natural light to create a relaxed, airy feel.
Vintage curios come in the form of the silver teapot-clad wall installation, a nod to Timothy Oulton’s British heritage coalescing with Istanbul’s coffee culture, and the giant timber apothecary cabinet, made by hand in our workshops, filled with jars of colourful sweets and spices.
A casual yet enticing menu of soups, sandwiches, and cakes are served, alongside ice cream and traditional Turkish coffee, all served up with Timothy Oulton’s generous, handcrafted hospitality.