I am told in no uncertain terms that if I want to write about Folk’s store in Soho, I need to talk to Jon-and-Boris. They, it transpires, are the guys who run the shop and by all accounts do so rather well. So, the Ant and Dec of Great Windmill Street. Jon’s reaction, when I run this analogy past him, is a mix of horror and amusement.
Former superstar DJ and Frenchman Boris is turning forty this week and has been taken off on a surprise holiday, so it’s just Jon running the show when I stop by Great Windmill Street. Which is fine – his is lovely company.
For your reading pleasure, here are 3 things that you might not know about the store, part I. Plants, artwork, music and a pub quiz coming up in June.
Words by Charlotte Brook
1) The Street
‘I think this used to be a sex shop, or maybe strip club, so we still get old customers coming in. There’s always loads going on up on Berwick Street but here is slightly off the beaten track. Which is very Folk, I have to say.’
Jon, Boris (and Sam, who works part time) drink coffee from the glamorous ice cream shop on Archer street. On seeing people passing the shop window holding Lavazza blue and white paper cups, Boris was dispatched out to the street to ask where they were getting it from. ‘I’m quite old school. Illy, Italian, not the modern filter stuff.’ Turns out, a very good Gelupo coffee is yours for a fabulous quid.
3) The Furniture
a) The Lights The elegant tangle of Osmo-oiled oak antennae overhead, connected by hand-cast brass joints, is like a Japanese chandelier. Beautiful, flexible, task lights anchored by shards of Rajasthani marble are below. And, woohoo, they use LED 6W bulbs, which will last 50,000 hours… That’s 6250 business days, so these guys won’t have to change a bulb until summer of 2028 or so.
b) The Tables Like those in the Lamb’s Conduit Street stores, the tables were made in collaboration with marble man Paul Van Stone, Cathal’s friend from (way back?) when they were both working in Great Western Studios..
c) Rocking chair Chillax while your co-shopper tries something on. First designed for a hotel in Munich, the Flushing Meadows, with Bavaria-based product designer Leander Angerer, it’s made from pear tree and is coooomfortable.
3) In the shop today
Are the new backpacks made with C6. The Soho store is menswear, but to my eye these rucksacks make now a fine time to be a bag lady, too.
And finally, a beautiful illustration of a plant that hangs in the store by the super-talented Jon Milbank.