From Soho Farmhouse to Dean Street Townhouse, you’ll find industrial-style lights illuminating the spaces both outside and indoors around the Houses. Many of them will have been supplied by Original BTC, a British firm founded by Peter Bowles.

Bowles was one of the first designers to capture the appeal of industrial lights and launched Original BTC with a core collection of pared back, factory-style interior lighting in 1990. Curious and innovative, many signature features of his lights come from unlikely origins, such as the family iron, which lent its woven cotton cord to Peter’s designs when he was unsatisfied with the finish of plastic lighting flex.

After studying product design and designing lights for Original BTC, Peter’s son Charlie became Director in 2012. Driven by a passion for British craftsmanship and production, together the Bowles have set about attempting to preserve the country’s industrial heritage by acquiring companies at risk of closure or being bought by foreign investors. In 2010 Original BTC acquired Davey Lighting, an industrial manufacturer founded in 1885. With roots dating back to nineteenth century London’s shipyards, Davey Lighting combines industrial design with traditional craftsmanship and the best raw materials. Their outdoor-safe lights are made in England with the same attention to detail required for their original industrial purpose. We use their box wall light on the walls outside Dean Street Townhouse.

A family affair

‘I studied product design at Leeds University, I was chatting one day with Peter in our local pub about what I would be doing after University, and at this point (I had already been designing the catalogues, producing the website, working on photography and visiting trade shows) he suggested working with him full time. [Working with my father is] fantastic, we think in the same way, he is game for trying anything and keen to keep building the business, as am I.'

Sources of inspiration

'My favourite part of the design process is seeing the first prototype as this is when you really get the feeling of whether you think the product is going to be a success or not! In terms of inspiration, this can simply come from anywhere, literally anywhere, you can see objects in so many different ways and ways in which they could be used as well as textures and finishes… anywhere and everywhere...'

Supporting British industry

'It is something you can get real satisfaction from, knowing that without Original BTC doing what it does at least three factories would have closed and along with that many skilled people would have lost their jobs. I love visiting the factories as everyone is so friendly and happy in their jobs, it is something so nice to see and be part of. It allows us to really control quantity, lead time and also enables us to experiment more freely with designs as we own the factories.'

Davey Lighting

‘We have supplied a lot of the Houses over the years. Both the Davey Lighting and Original BTC products fit very well with the Soho House style. Our products are the real thing; design, quality and longevity are so important to us, for example the Mast light (designed around the 1930’s) used in the Houses was originally designed to be used on the top of masts on boats, the pillar lights were originally saloon lights designed in the 1930’s. These products have not been designed to create this look, they are the look.’

Dean Street Townhouse

Dean Street Townhouse is our restaurant with rooms in a historic Georgian building in the heart of Soho.