Today i want to introduce you to a great british designer, a true leather expert. Meet bill amberg. I’ve known the bill amberg brand since 1997, when i first stumbled across his shop in chepstow road, selling exquisite bags and accessories for men and women. I was instantly smitten with the design, finish and leather used and have been a regular customer ever since. To top this, all manufacturing is done locally. I’ve by now built up quite a collection of bags and accessories that i cherish and wear daily.
Bill himself is a charming and charismatic character and a really nice chap. I knew of the bill amberg studio, but had never really seen any of the work they undertook so was super excited when i heard about this exhibition. In the first of a series of exhibitions to be held at the great western studios in conjunction with inside design, bill exhibits the story of different artistic collaborations in leather. I’ve depicted a few of those here and an exciting new packaging project in non-leather.
Bill amberg founded the studio that bears his name over 20 years ago now. Today this is as much an artisans’ collective as a thriving company offering high-end services. The studio’s endeavours range from architectural services for much-valued corporate and private clients, to interior leather bespoke work, and signature accessories.
How cool is this bag? The attention to detail is just superb! Every single bill amberg bag I own just gets better with age when the leather wears and becomes super soft!
What a great gift to give to executive staff of a corporate company….in this case, a world map detailing trade routes along with a map of scotland showing the current distilleries… wow, just wow!
Bill is an avid cyclist and he often designs bags with long straps to wear over shoulders… have a look at this bike with customised leather pan saddle, handle bars, rat traps and mud flaps. Wouldn’t you like to own one?
This is a new project, something a little different, a non-leather project. The bill amberg studio was asked to design the leather pouches for staff at the then newly opened wagamama, back in 1992. Recently they’ve been asked once again to collaborate and were invited to develop these take-away packaging for the chain. These food containers, cutlery, serviettes and carry bags are at prototype-ready stage. Everything is ultimately compostable and biodegradable.
Renzo piano, the shard architect, noticed a piece of hand-stitched furniture that bill amberg studio had produced with the exact finish he had in mind for the shard reception desk. 17 meters of leather was hand-stitched onsite using a double needle.
This edge shelf was inspired by the shard reception desk. It uses the same construction but at a slightly different scale. The pinch and hand stitching gives the shelf the same feeling of lightness while evoking the studio’s leatherworking heritage. The shelf is available to order at the show.
In just two month, bill amberg studio managed to install a 280 square-meter leather floor for selfridges’ new men’s shoe department. Expected footfall required a particularly durable floor. They opted for vegetable, pit-tanned, soling bends. This is the toughest, most dense part of an animal, from tail to the beginning of the shoulder. They then chose a beeswax finish for lustre. How divine is this herring-bone parquet floor?
Finally, look at this gorgeous table top desk showing various material combinations! This space-saving desk combines a simple table and work station. Here, bridle leather, walnut wood and a bronzed-finish metal framework work in perfect harmony. I love the drawers and shelves for stationery or general ephemera. The laptop compartment with integrated cable gives a tidy finish. The last picture shows the table top closed.
Can you understand why i’m a bill amberg fan? Oh, by the way, bill, lior, justina, if any of you are reading this, where was my invite to the private view? Answers on a postcard please!!
The show runs until wednesday 6th march at:
Great Western Studios
65 Alfred Road
London W2 5EU
So. i’m interested, which project appeals to you the most? For bill amberg bags and accessories, see here.