Category Archives: Events

New Ventures for LONDON DESIGN FESTIVAL 2016 at Bill Amberg Studio

On Thursday 22nd September, we opened up our doors and invited our clients, customers and local businesses to come and explore the inner workings of the Bill Amberg Studio as part of London Design Festival.

New workshop, showroom space

Here at the Bill Amberg Studio, we believe that making should be central to the studio’s activities in a very literal sense. This year for London Design Festival, we welcomed visitors to a new 650 sq ft ground floor workshop and showroom space. With a progressively expanding portfolio of interior projects, furniture pieces, and products, the new showroom and workshop space is a vital hub for inspiration and ideas.

The Commons Collection – Introducing the new Common Bar stool and Common Coffee table

Combining CNC technology, traditional saddlery skills and hand stitch detailing, we launched our first seating range, the Commons Collection, during London Design Festival 2015. For 2016, we present two new additions to the range; a bar stool and a coffee table. These new versions have been designed especially for contract interior application.

The Commons Collection arose from the need for modern leather furniture that would be ideal in a home kitchen, coffee shop, a hotel lobby or workplace. Combining traditional leathercraft techniques with CNC, the first collection of stools and a bench employs simple craft techniques to create a robust yet lightweight seating range.

The new Commons Bar stool and Commons Coffee table, features a lightly padded English bridle leather top. The edges have been turned and trapped, creating a soft edge detail and comes with a lacquered base and solid oak legs. This variation from the hand-stitched collection adds a new functionality to this group and their application in a variety of settings.

The Commons Collection highlights the Studio’s ongoing experiments in the creative application of leather; a modern, organically contoured family of furniture that will complement a home kitchen and workspaces alike.

Alchemy – experimental series of concrete-leather panels

Continually using leather in innovative and unconventional ways, the Bill Amberg Studio presents a series of panels that explore the unique qualities of two highly varying materials: leather and concrete. With the use of a range of vegetable tanned leather, brass and metal details, we created six small panels and two larger panels. The panels also see the use of a third material; brass.

The combination of these materials results in an intriguing combination of textures and grains. Adding a new dimension to the character of each, the Alchemy panels question the traditional use of all three materials.

Leather has defined the work of the Bill Amberg Studio for over 30 years, encompassing everything from floors, walls and furniture to saddles and bags. For London Design Festival 2016, we push the status quo and take the luxury of leather and juxtapose it with industrial concrete to create the Alchemy series of panels. This series is an exploration of using a concrete leather surface for applications in the future.

To arrange a visit to our Queens Park studio, please contact us at: info@billambergstudio.com.

Alchemy by Bill Amberg Studio LDF16-02

Alchemy by Bill Amberg Studio: experiments with Leather & Concrete

For London Design Festival 2016, Bill Amberg Studio presents Alchemy; a series of panels that explore the material properties of leather and concrete.

Continually using leather in innovative and unconventional ways, the Bill Amberg Studio presents a series of panels that explore the unique qualities of two highly varying materials: leather and concrete. The combination of these materials results in an intriguing combination of textures and grains. Adding a new dimension to the character of each, the Alchemy panels question the traditional use of both materials.

Alchemy by Bill Amberg Studio LDF16

Leather has defined the work of the Bill Amberg Studio for over 30 years, encompassing everything from floors, walls and furniture to saddles and bags. For London Design Festival 2016, we push the status quo and take the luxury of leather and juxtapose it with industrial concrete to create the Alchemy series of panels. This series is an exploration of using a concrete leather surface for applications in the future. The panels also see the use of a third material; brass.

Alchemy by Bill Amberg Studio LDF16-03

Taking place during London Design Festival, the Alchemy panels will be on view at our Queens Park studio. Join us on 22nd September for a full insight into Alchemy, as part of Timeless Materia.

We also celebrate the opening of a new workshop and showroom space with a drinks reception as part of Queens Park Design District. Please join us from 6pm at our head office in Lonsdale Road.

Bill Amberg Studio
2 Lonsdale Road,
NW6 6RD
Thursday 22nd September

Open studio: 10 am – 5pm
Drinks reception: 6pm

For media and press queries, please contact Punam: punam@billambergstudio.com
T. +44 (0)20 8960 2000

Bill Amberg Studio at Port Eliot 2016 with Hole & Corner magazine

We are happy to announce the Bill Amberg Studio team will be making our second appearance at Port Eliot in Cornwall from 28th – 31st July as part of the Maker’s Tent run by Hole & Corner magazine. On offer will be a long weekend full of workshops, demonstrations and talks that offer festival-goers the chance to learn a new skill or hone an existing one while hearing more about the practices and processes of some of the finest designer makers in the UK.

Bill and his team of expert leather crafters will present a pouch-making workshop, giving visitors the chance to hone in on traditional techniques from hand-stitching to riveting and bevelling to create their very own leather pouch. The team of artisans draws from the age-old disciplines of case making, saddlery and bookbinding – often using tools and methods that have remained unchanged for centuries – in order to deliver beautiful contemporary leatherwork that lasts. Here at Bill Amberg Studio, we harness the best of one of nature’s most versatile and adaptable resources with an unrivalled creativity in a host of different ways and invite festival-goers to come and experience this ancient material up close.

The leather pouch making workshops will be held on the below days and times:

Friday 2:00pm – 4.30pm
Saturday 10.30 – 1:00pm
Sunday 10.30 – 1:00pm

Other designer-makers who are taking part this year includes Lola Lely with Shibori cloth workshops, Clogmaking demonstrations by Jeremy Atkinson, ceramicists Stephanie  Buttle and Laura Lane plus many more.

Further to a range of workshops, the days will be accompanied by suitably atmospheric music by Amateurism and special guests. After 5pm there’ll be live music curated by Prah Recordings (a new label from Moshi Moshi Records) with an eclectic programme of acoustic sets from across the musical spectrum.

Further information on the Hole & Corner Maker’s Tent can be found here.

Further information on the Hole & Corner Maker’s Tent can be found here.

Bill Amberg Studio at Port Eliot 2015

Bill Amberg Studio’s Top Five from Clerkenwell Design Week 2016

This year’s Clerkenwell Design Week took visitors on a much more adventurous tour of the district with a variety of new venues, dynamic installations and a wealth of design inspiration.  At Clerkenwell Design Week 2016 we saw contemporary design and traditional craft go hand in hand; a reassuring sign that both can work well, especially when they work together. Here’s our top pick of interesting projects and installations from this year’s instalment.

HakFolly by Flea Folly Architects

Dutch wood floor manufacturer Hakwood and London architecture studio Flea Folly Architects came together for this year’s installation in the arch at St. Johns Gate; ‘HakFolly’, a 4.5m high temple of timber. The intriguing structure is inspired by Flea Folly Architect’s visit to Hakwood’s factory in the Netherlands where they witnessed the interesting form of the timber being stored in stacks. Flea Folly Architects really mirror what they saw and have re-imagined it through the impressive towering temple of timber. Hakfolly explores the leftover timber from the manufacturing process of wood flooring, and along with off shelf planks, the stacked timber structure was achieved.

British Collection

With a vaulted brick ceiling and old Victorian charm, the Crypt on the Green was the perfect backdrop for a showcase of home grown design talent; British Collection. The debut exhibition was home to a line-up of British brands that included deVol Kitchens, James Burleigh and a new favourite, Hand & Eye Studio headed by architect Tom Housden. Hand & Eye Studio work with small manufacturers, often some of the last remaining in the terracotta industry, to produce a range of high quality lighting. At this year’s Clerkenwell Design Week, Tom Housden presented a 1.7m long lamp, the A Beam suspended light, made from extruded terracotta. Housden combines craft and modern technology in each of his products, a quality that is also mirrored in our work here at Bill Amberg Studio.

Go by Benjamin Hubert/Layer design

Benjamin Hubert and his design agency Layer, known for experimental design experiences, have developed the first ever made-to-measure 3D-printed wheelchair, Go. It forms part of their new research studio LayerLAB, who spent the past two years conducting thorough research into wheelchair functionality to develop an alternative to the clunky and standard range of wheelchairs on the market. They spoke to wheelchair users and medical professionals in order to gain a detailed insight to allow them to understand how to transform it and give it the ‘human element’, rather than simply act as a ‘medical device’. Showcased at Clerkenwell London, a space dedicated to curated design and experiences, the Go Wheelchair is a poetic creation that focuses on its function and pays attention to its users need above aesthetic form.

Platform

The subterranean House of Detention presents the return of Platform; a showcase of exciting new design talent from around the world. Each cell unit offered a dynamic and some-what archaic backdrop for each designer’s collection, creating a contrast to the modern wears on show. Some of the stand out designers included a charming range of Jesmonite tableware from London based studio Yen Chen & Ya Wen and artist and sign painter Archie Proudfoot whose work explores the techniques and the aesthetics of traditional signage to explore our relationship with language.

CDW Presents the Museum of Making

Clerkenwell is steeped in a history of craft and manufacturing and still remains true to its past with the presence of establishments such as Craft Central and the Goldsmiths Centre still in the area. To celebrate this heritage, Clerkenwell Design Week invited Swedish firm White Arkitekter to create the installation in St John’s Square. The structure took the form of a barn, a symbol also linked to Scandinavian heritage. It was made from a range of multi-coloured flat-pack panels with differing colour tones on show, depending on the angle you looked at it from. The Museum of Making ran a series of workshops and was a great example of tying in traditional craft with modern design.

The Stack Screen for Hotel Wallpaper, Milan 2016

For the second year running, Bill Amberg Studio were invited by Wallpaper magazine to design and make a custom product for Milan design week.

For this year’s showcase, the publication invited leading designers, artists and manufacturers come together with one-off collaborations for Hotel Wallpaper, creating a veritable feast of design excellence.

Even now, having worked with leather for over 30 years, the team here at Bill Amberg Studio are constantly discovering new applications for it as a structural material. Forming cohesion between traditional methods in leather craft and modern design aesthetic; an essential part of the work we do is to continue pushing the boundaries of leather design. Through this process of experimentation, we developed a structural material; Stack.

Stack looks at leather as a surface material from a fresh perspective, while also acting as means of recycling workshop waste and the hundreds of leather off-cuts from other studio projects. Through a process of stacking the leather strips, a natural pattern emerges, and the application of resin and sanding results in a remarkably smooth and tactile surface. The result is a striped pattern in a variety of colours – entirely made from recycled leather.

For Hotel Wallpaper, we explore the architectural aesthetics of a hotel room, taking inspiration from a classic dressing screen. Simplified architecture is often complemented with interesting interior elements, allowing the space to adopt to changing trends, uses and functions over time. This idea forms the conceptual basis for the Stack Screen, challenging the structural possibilities of incorporating the Stack material into the design.

A key in the making process was collaborating with a professional joiner who has a level understanding on how to convert the Stack material into an easily applicable format for interior products and surfaces. Arden Hodges, with their high level of expertise in architectural joinery, worked closely with us to devise a manufacture process that would make the Stack an accessible material. To create a smooth finish, the Arden Hodges team suggested the best method of application was by incorporating a tongue and groove joint as it results in both a robust and seamless finish. The tactile characteristic of the material is demonstrated with the use of both curved and flat surfaces on the screen; the patterns adding an illusion of depth to the rounded shape. The Stack Screen represents a new way of using leather in furniture and as a breakthrough in leather production techniques.

The story behind the Earth & Fire table tops for Tom Dixon, Milan 2016

Having worked with the Tom Dixon Design Research Studio over the years, Bill Amberg Studio were once again invited to partner up for another design showcase. For Fuorisalone 2016, we were asked to design and make the table tops for two of the four element-themed dining halls at The Restaurant, presented by Caesarstone and Tom Dixon. The team at Tom Dixon Design Research Studio approached us with the elements of Earth and Fire.

Intrigued by ancient materials, we were able to locate unused leather scraps from the storage of various tanneries we work with. The Earth table tops are made from highly characteristic sections of old leather; a shoulder panel from a cow hide. Representing the most natural grain of the animal, it is a highly irregular and tough section of the leather, qualities that make it the least used part of the hide and a by-product in the leather industry.

For the Fire table tops, we choose a black leather with a ‘waxy’ bloom texture on the surface that had transformed into a pattern that is more reminiscent of rock surface than a hide. Due to the surfaced wax, the leather was easily charred; a process we undertook to achieve the intricate charcoal-like texture.

A key process during the design was achieving a balance between the material and its final form. Unique shapes and formations inspire the various surface styles; some are sectioned off in patterns, whilst others have been laid with a single sheet of leather to highlight the intricate textures. By working with the leather in this way, we are also able to reduce the waste produced in the making process. By taking the raw and chaotic leather and cutting and applying it in an organised sequence, we disrupt the natural pattern of the hide, resulting in contemporary table surfaces.

Bill Amberg Studio at Milan 2016

We are happy to announce that Bill Amberg Studio will be appearing at the Milan Fuorisalone from 11 to 17 April with two very unique and exquisite design showcases.

An authority on leather design, here at Bill Amberg Studio, we develop cutting-edge techniques to bring this ancient material into contemporary context, from interiors to product design.

This year we meet Tom Dixon at The Restaurant by Ceasarstone in the stunning Rotonda della Besana. Invited to explore the Fire and Earth themed dining halls, Bill Amberg Studio present an experimental and unconventional range of table top designs.

The Studio’s ongoing commitment in challenging the parameters of leather design saw the creation of a unique adaptable surface texture; Stack. For Hotel Wallpaper, a beautiful custom designed screen, handmade in collaboration with Ardern Hodges will form a part of the hotel setting. The Stack Screen represents a new way of using leather in furniture and as a breakthrough in leather production techniques.

If you would like to schedule a meeting in Milan, please contact the team at: info@billambergstudio.com

Port Hole (& Corner)

Based in Cornwall, Port Eliot Festival is a wonderfully relaxed festival for the whole family based around a fun mix of literature, music, making and general creativity in what are the wonderful grounds of a magnificent house by the River Tiddy. It takes place from July 30th to August 2nd and this year, Bill Amberg Studio will be onsite with a making workshop, a talk on leather by Bill himself and a special DJ set by Bill for the folks visiting the Hole & Corner tent on Thursday evening.

Earlier this year, Hole & Corner magazine founder Sam Walton invited  Bill to write a feature for the magazine’s first edition on his efforts to revamp an old Norton motorbike with the restorer Tom Grifin. Bringing the pages of this beautiful publication to life, Hole & Corner have invited Bill and the Bill Amberg Studio to carry out a leather workshop on two of the 4 days of the festival at the ‘Makers’ tent. Folk can come and get involved in making a leather strap for an instrument or a belt, or just come along and have a look at how it’ s all done.

Other interesting leather craft work in the tent will be presented by Tortie Hoare, which is supported by the University of Plymouth, to talk about leather moulding, alongside specialists in ceramics and wood.

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.