Category Archives: Collaborations

Bill Amberg Studio Colaborates

Imprints in the ink: the Gator rug by Bill Amberg

An intimate evening provided the ideal backdrop for Bill Amberg to introduce Gator; a subtle and refined pattern taken directly from the print of an alligator skin.

On the evening, we invited Kelvyn Smith of Smiths Rules to present a live demonstration; creating a print from the actual alligator skin ‘plate’ used for the Gator rug.

This process began from Bill’s exploration to capture the textures and patterns of four skins; Bull, Alligator, Elephant and Buffalo. The intricacies of the leather proved a natural type of letterpress ‘plate’, allowing Kelvyn to experiment with the different skins according to its thickness and density. The nature of each material formed a varied outcome each time.

With the use of traditional methods of letterpress printing, Kelvyn carried out several experiments, lifting the paper to even out the skin’s natural difference in thickness and density until he reached the perfect print, which led to the formation of the design for the Gator rug.

Working once again with Christopher Sharp and The Rug Company was really the final piece of the puzzle. Over several months, Bill and the team at The Rug Company worked closely to develop the materials, shades and construction of the final product. The imprint of the alligator skin is beautifully interpreted on the hand knotted Tibetan wool and silk rug, available to order in a custom size, shape, colour and scale.

The Gator is available exclusively at The Rug Company.

Bill Amberg Studio at Work It for The Art Room

London based art consultancy Fair & Co invited artists, architects and designers to transform the iconic Ernest Race BA2 chair for the Work It exhibition held at Selfridges, Oxford Street from 30 April to 11 June 2015.

A joint collaboration between Fair & Co and the Duchess of Cambridge’s charity, The Art Room, which offers art as therapeutic intervention for children facing challenges in their lives, the chairs were sold through online auction house Paddle8 with all proceeds going to The Art Room.

Our exploration of the BA2 chair, which dates back to 1947, took inspiration from modern day working methods and the increase in agile working, especially with mobile devices like an iPad or laptop.

For the transformation, we took a recycled aluminium BA2 chair and removed one of the four legs and used it to create a lectern, integrating a wooden section of the seat pan to complete the look and create a holder for the technological device. Then we made a new inner seat pan from a piece of vegetable tanned English side leather.

The transformation evolved around the form of the chair and how we could present a playful, yet functioning alternative. By taking the very special design that is over 65 years old and altering its generic form, we wanted to create a product that is fitting of a tech start-up office or usable within a school and college environment.

A beautiful & functioning bespoke leather apron

Bill Amberg was requested to design and make a one-off bespoke apron; here at the studio we work on many such one-off requests, so we accepted the challenge with a lot of enthusiasm.

An apron is the first product we were asked to create, especially as it was an apron for the kitchen. The key emphasis was to be placed on the material as well as the final details of the design. It was necessary the apron provided comfort as well as functionality, so Bill choose a semi chrome leather as the material for the final piece. The leather is half vegetable tanned and half chrome tanned; the leather is well structured due to the vegetable tanning and softness from the chrome tanning. The leather is somewhere between the softness of material used for furniture and stiffness you would expect in saddlery. The chrome also offers protection from the splash of oil and fat, and the general fallout from cooking or a barbeque that can be resolved simply by wiping with a damp cloth.

To add functionality for the user in the kitchen, Bill introduced three front pockets that have been gusseted, making room for tea towels, oven gloves and also knifes. Held together with reinforced hand-set copper rivets, adjustable leather straps give it the final touch and make it wearable for all sizes.

Bill Amberg Studio meets Heatherwick: Sharing a new way of experimenting with materials

Here at Bill Amberg Studio, we spend a lot of time experimenting with the leather to really try and understand what it possible. It is a vital part of our work here, not only for the client but also for us as designers and in the workshop because it maintains a flow of inspiration. It also means we are able to constantly present new ideas and new techniques in front of our clients.

An important part of Bill Amberg’s work with leather is sharing this expertise and knowledge of leather through a specially crafted Continuity Profile Development talk. Based in King’s Cross, Thomas Heatherwick’s architectural studio invited Bill Amberg to present a CPD talk on ‘Using leather in interiors and architecture’ to the team.

The CPD is a crucial element in opening up the way leather is perceived and the understanding of its use; it aims to highlight the possibilities of leather, enabling architects to better understand how it can be incorporated into their work. Further to the talk, we invited the team at Heatherwick studio to come and visit the Bill Amberg Studio in Queens Park, offering them a personal insight into our work and what we do here.

“The trip to Bill’s studio opened us up to a new way of making and experimenting with materials which brings further richness to the work that we do” – Alexander Laing, senior designer.

View the timelapse video of Bill’s talk, click here: Bill Amber Studio at Heatherwick studio.

Long shelf life: reworking a favourite

A collaborator and loyal fan of our leather work, property developer John Shayer of 800 Group  got in touch with the Bill Amberg Studio to commission a new piece for his home.

We first collaborated with Shayer when we had a shop in operation, based in Westbourne Grove. Previously, he bought a pair of console tables from us and later got in touch for various furnishings for his office, continuing in this manner over the years, to purchase a range of products.

We were recently contacted by Shayer once again, who was interested in a particular shelf design we crafted during the Great Western Studios exhibition. The angular shelf presents signature pinched edge detailing. John Shayer commissioned the studio to create this shelving for his home, for which Bill suggested a vegetable tanned bridal shoulder leather hide. The detailed finish includes pinched, hand-stitching that uses a waxed linen thread to increase its durability and strength.