Cladding your walls in leather
Leather wall panelling is remarkably durable and infinitely adaptable. Working in harmony with other materials such as wood, stone, metals and glass, leather is an icon of authenticity, and an enduring symbol of luxury. At Bill Amberg Studio, we’re proud to sit at the forefront of innovation when it comes to leatherworking techniques, surface material development, and integration of leather panelling to interior spaces.
There are multiple variables that can be adjusted when considering use of leather for panelling. The first is the scale of the panel you are looking to achieve. From sheep or goat skins of around 0.5 sqm, up to full bull hides of over 6sqm, panel size should not be regarded as a limiting factor.
The second consideration is method of panel construction and detailing. Will panels be plain butted with a subtle join, fully wrapped onto boards, or hung in a frame? Will they be square, rectangular, geometric, or abstract? Will they have a fielded or padded detail, a stitch line or burnish line around the perimeter, or will they use gilding or an embossing detail?
Another consideration is colour. Our team can make suggestions based on an existing material palette, or for an accurate match, many of our tanneries can colour-match leathers to specific RAL or Pantone references. The level of texture, grain or sheen of a leather can all be adjusted in the finishing process, as required.
Our job is to advise clients on the most appropriate use of leather for their interior architectural applications, given aesthetic requirements, material palette, construction method and budget. Our team of traditionally trained leatherworkers will travel to fit panelling jobs for clients internationally, with a focus on creating beautiful interior features, which will age gracefully, growing in character and personality with time.
By taking leather out of its expected context and setting alongside other materials or finishes, we can create new, tactile and surprising interior surface details, which offer interesting and wide-ranging possibilities. In this way, leather wall panels provide a truly memorable alternative to wallpapers, paints or traditional wood panelling.
A few examples of our projects that include leather wall panelling are below:
This private house was originally designed by Pip Horne for Anish Kapoor. At first floor level, a dramatic corridor with red leather wall panels links the two principal living spaces. The choice of whole vegetable-tanned saddlebacks allows very large panels to be used; secured in place with vertical handstitched detailing.
In the master suite, the same saddleback leather in a mid-tan was selected and applied to panels around a fireplace. For the bathroom, a traditional English tannage of oak bark, which ages to a rich fawn colour was chosen for the walls, to offset the cooler tones of polished concrete and Roman stone.
Private residence, Nashville
Working with Los Angeles-based interior designer Adam Hunter, we created custom fielded wall panelling for the client’s living room, using bespoke cerulean leather with a stitched perimeter around each wall panel.
Hung within patinated Gunmetal frames, Adam describes the aesthetic as ‘Steampunk Space’; with inspiration for the 500-acre Tennessee estate drawing both from the light grey bark of the surrounding trees, and the clients’ love for astrology.
Harrods, Fine Watch Department
As part of the extension of Harrods’ luxury watch offering, we were asked to create over 500 sqm of twin-stitched and hand embossed leather wall panels across two floors. The floor-to-ceiling panels are almost three metres high, with a skived and turned seam, and a fielded profile around the perimeter of each board.
We worked with the client team and architects, Rundell Associates to create bespoke colour-matched semi-aniline full hides in two subtle tones for the panelling, which retain the natural grain of the material. The results are luxurious yet understated.
For the overhaul of the lobby of Southampton Row’s Davidson Building, we created a series of fluted wall panels with disguised seams that add texture and depth to the reception area. These striking textured leather walls extend through the lift lobby and into the lift wall panels themselves.
These are complemented by a dramatic 15m desk, supported by a single steel pole and strikingly upholstered in cantilevered red-dyed shoulder leather. Using a finely honed edge-moulding technique, we were able to create the illusion that the desk is fashioned from a single piece of leather.
Please get in touch with our team if you are interested in using leather wall panelling for an upcoming project.