Designer Staircase


For a private London residence belonging to a leading industrial designer, Bill Amberg Studio have designed and installed a bespoke staircase made almost entirely from vegetable-tanned leather. The choice of material was at the request of the client whose knowledge in the design industry has given him a deep understanding of leather – a material which stands the test of time.

As it ages, the staircase wears in a similar way to that of a traditional wooden staircase, with areas smoothed away from constant use with indentations and imperfections adding character to the structure. Like wood, the leather surface chosen for these stairs will begin to tell its own story over time from constant daily use. Unlike chrome-tanned upholstery, vegetable-tanned leather will pick up burnish marks, go darker where it has been walked on, and become bleached from rays of sunlight, giving it life and character.


The appreciation of ageing and longevity in the leather means the stairs will never need to be replaced as they will never wear out. Another advantage of leather is its repairability, unlike artificial materials which cannot be repaired in the same way as natural materials. The stairs have been built not just to last, but to improve with its current owner and others that come after.

“These stairs may get scuffed, but there’s no reason for them to ever need re-sanding or finishing. They’re there for two lifetimes. Leather is a very efficient choice when it comes to environmental impact. And that’s going to become more and more important. It’s not just how valuable something appears to be. People’s idea of what “valuable” means is beginning to change. If you look at suppliers such as Retrouvius, their idea of value isn’t just about it being brand new, it’s about longevity and possibly having a past life… that’s what adds value.” Bill Amberg