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.