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We’re Hiring – Senior Leatherworker at Bill Amberg Studio

This is an exciting opportunity to join the team of Bill Amberg Studio, a well known design workshop specialising in bespoke leather interiors and products.

THE ROLE 

As Senior Leatherworker, the person will be expected to effectively run architectural and product projects to the highest quality and standard appropriate to the luxury brand, both in the workshop and on site. To maintain the standard of craftsmanship at the highest level and train, encourage, and mentor junior leatherworkers, together with other team members, as appropriate.

SCOPE AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The scope of the role includes the following although this is not exhaustive as the scope required will vary with each project.

  • Successful running of projects both in the workshop and on site, ensuring that work is completed on time and within budget. Scope includes running projects independently as well as managing a small team
  • Attend client meetings when required and where appropriate take the lead from time to time
  • Ensure the best possible use of materials
  • Take briefings from the design team prior to each project start date to ensure full understanding of the project scope
  • Assist in the coordination of in-house and on-site project work, in particular with setting up and briefing junior leatherworkers
  • Assist with completion of accurate project costings/proposals
  • Liaise with site managers to ensure that Bill Amberg Studio’s on site requirements are met
  • Responsible for the return of all stock materials at the end of projects
  • Responsible for the completion of post project reviews

KNOWLEDGE/SKILL/EXPERIENCE

  • Excellent all round technical ability in fine and bespoke leather working, in particular machine and hand stitching, pattern making and cutting, skiving, use of all hand tools including edge finishing, blocking, and embossing
  • Proven record of successfully running large projects to budget and time constraints
  • Ability to read and understand technical and architectural drawings
  • Comfortable working with a wide range of leathers, from upholstery to bag and saddlery leathers.
  • Full, clean driving licence and a willingness to be able to drive a transit van in and around London and other parts of the UK when required
  • Highly organised
  • Enthusiastic, eager to keep developing and accepting more responsibility
  • Enjoys mentoring colleagues and sharing knowledge
  • Good communication skills
  • Good customer service skills
  • Good people management skills

To Apply

Please send a CV, cover letter and examples of work to info@billambergstudio.com

Bill gets Listed by Robert Elms on BBC Radio London

Bill Amberg joins Robert Elms on BBC Radio London to take part in his weekly segment, Listed Londoner.

This week, Bill Amberg took to the airwaves on the Robert Elms show to answer the 15 famous on the show’s weekly segment; Listed Londoner. The show, which sees Robert Elms invite a notable Londoner, gave Bill the opportunity to share his favourite London haunts, memories, pet hates and everything in between.

As well as Bill’s favourite London architecture and eateries, the conversation divulges where in London you can see first-hand a Bill Amberg installation, Robert Elms and his Bill Amberg bag and the return of the accessories shop online.

The clip is available to listen for the next 25 days on the BBC Radio London website, here: Listed Londoner Bill Amberg.

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.

California Calling: Bill Amberg Studio now open for business in The Golden State

We are delighted to announce that from June 2016, the Bill Amberg Studio’s range of bespoke leather handrails and rugs along with two furniture collections will be available in California, USA.

As an antidote to products being mass produced through factory chains, designers are seeing the benefits of introducing handcrafted pieces into the home. The unique character derived from handmade objects adds a value that builds over generations. Here at Bill Amberg Studio, our team of artisans draw 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.

A selection of our fine leather products, designed and made in the studio in London, will now be available to see at one exclusive destination; the UNA MALAN showroom at The Courtyard, 8748 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood. Together with Una Malan, we have handpicked and curated a product range including our handrails, rugs, two furniture collections and our Stack leather floor and wall surface system.

Una Malan’s uncompromising eye for high quality and impeccable craftsmanship is matched with Bill Amberg’s ethos for beautiful, custom-made installations and products. Other brands available to see at the showroom alongside Bill Amberg Studio include Dmitriy & Co., VeniceM, Loro Piana Interiors and Knowles & Christou.

An encapsulating space, the UNA MALAN showroom is not only the place to see the range of products available, but to also discuss with Una Malan the options for any special requirements for custom made work.

Get in touch with Una Malan now to discuss your next project with the Bill Amberg Studio.

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

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.

exploring the properties of leather as a three-dimensional material

The lobby area of this pioneering new office, retail and residential development in Central London gave the Bill Amberg Studio an excellent opportunity to explore and showcase the properties of leather as a three-dimensional material. Working with project architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, the studio created an undulating wall of leather that mimicked the building’s curvy glass façade (itself a homage to contours of 1937 design classic, the Aalto vase).

Using a semi-soft saddlery leather spread over combination of neoprene and Plastazote foams, we were able to create a smooth and even wave effect on each three-metre panel. Stitching techniques from saddlery were used to fix the panels in place, with recessed stitchlines to protect the thread. Positioning the panels at 5mm intervals added depth and definition to the 40sqm wall area.

Complemented by the matching leather seat pad on the reception bench, the result was a nut-brown ‘curtain’ of leather that brought warmth, texture and tactility (and, of course, natural fireproofing) to the space.

Doctor, Doctor

We are proud to announce that the University of the Arts, London has presented Bill Amberg with an honorary doctorate for his dedication to education on leather craft. This is reflected in the studios’ and Bill’s own involvement in projects with fashion students, and his apprenticeships, leather work programmes and bespoke evening classes. A truly exciting and real honour for Bill, this is also a tribute to everyone at the studio, those who have supported Bill’s work for over 30 years now and, of course, friends and family.

On receiving the award, Bill gave a speech that expressed his passion and long standing expertise in leather craft to an audience that included the UAL chancellor and vice chancellor, Sir John Sorrell, and Nigel Carrington, respectively. Bill continues to support the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths and St Martin’s and other colleges under the UAL umbrella in this way, which is a real privilege.

 

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 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.