Creativity Corner Inspirational People

bill amberg studio

February 28, 2013

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!

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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26 Comments

  • Reply Judith February 28, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    Wow love that smoothness of the first black bag! Really pretty!

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      Yes, his leather is amazing. My favourite though is when leather gets worn and used… I love that look!

  • Reply geraldine March 1, 2013 at 12:10 am

    Wow Tina, how many Bill Amberg bags do you own? I’ve often walked home from Portobello road (when we were living in Maida Vale) and seeing that Bill Amberg sign, wondering whether it was a shop, but it was always closed off. The leather quality is exquisite in your picture. I remembered eyeing his fleece/ leather special edition baby carriers but it was too costly. Could only wish then… Have a happy weekend xx

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Ha. Not sure. Also have lots of accessories.

      You know I’ve always daydreamed about making a baby JUST so I can buy that baby carrier:-) I think it’s always been a bestseller!! x

  • Reply Parisbreakfast March 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Clean and elegant.
    Your eye never disappoints Tina

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      Merci Carol!

  • Reply Alison Sye March 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Absolutely exquisite.

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      I know, isn’t it just divine. That desk, hmmmm.

  • Reply Caroline @trend-daily March 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Yes-wonderful talent. Very beautiful bags-I would lov to get to the exhibition at Great Western-haven’t been for years and it’s such an inspiring place. So glad you discovered the exhibition and shared it here Tina-justin case I don’t get to go! Great to see the Wagamam designs too-makes me a bit desperate to get back to design school… X

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Caroline, just to warn you, Great Western have moved to the other side (so to speak).

      I’ve always wanted to do an MA but hey ho, I’ve now finally given up on it x

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey March 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Ooh and more ooh. I love bags and I love leather and I love the work you’ve shown by Bill Amberg Studio. He’s not someone I’m familiar with so thank you for the wonderful insight. The Shard reception desk inspired shelf and herring-bone parquet floor are both stunning. I can just imagine the beautiful things I could display on that shelf.

    It’s great to read about Bill Amberg through your eyes. Knowing what I do about you, I can see why you connect so closely with this brand. The products and work are aesthetic, functional, designed with such care and made to last – superb.

    Oh and the desk… one for me please 😉

    Thanks darlin’ xx

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Mr Grey, a post after your own heart!

      My neighbours went up to the Shard on Saturday… should have told them to take a look at the reception desk.
      Yes, you would lOVE anything Bill makes but for me, his men’s bags collection have always been favourites!

      I’ll share the desk with you:-) x

  • Reply Catherine Bedson March 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Tina, that first black bag is superb, the quality & finish. I’ll have one of those. What a talent!

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Sure, am sure Bill would only be too happy to ship to Australia:-) xx

  • Reply Doris March 3, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this exhibition with us. I am most impressed with the detailing in the leather handle of the bag. I’ve never heard of bill amberg but he is clearly talented. xD

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

      Thanks Doris. Check out the women’s bag collection. x

  • Reply Anya Jensen March 3, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I too have seen the sign often on my way home to Maida Vale (back in the day) – although I have never even gone in. Lovely stuff Tina – sure my Mr. would go potty for the bike stuff. Happy weekend sweets,
    Axx

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Ha. Yes, the bike stuff. Very beautiful indeed!

  • Reply leah of sang the bird March 3, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    i completely understand why you are a bill amberg fan!! true craftsmanship. the detail in the bike seats are amazing. a work of art.
    and i’m also really loving the compostable and biodegradable take-away packaging. using beautiful things everyday, beautiful things that are eco friendly…. perfect. xx

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      I’m quite excited about their departure into non-leather products too. It’s all about great design and solutions. Was rather impressed with the packaging…xx

  • Reply We Heart Home March 4, 2013 at 11:19 am

    I can totally see why you love Bill Amberg! I find leather to be such a sensual material – I just want to touch it all day 🙂 He does really inspiring work and very unique projects – the Shard reception desk, omg! I guess that’s my favourite project because I like the idea and the colour of that leather. Close second is the desk, Wow!

    Thanks for sharing Tina.

    Xx. Holly

    • Reply tina March 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      I also have a thing for leather. I just love the touch, the smell, the possibilities. Bill’s leather is always so amazing. He used to have a shop where he displayed old leather goods he owns. It was like being in a leather gallery, just loved it!!! xx

  • Reply Nicola March 4, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I didn’t know he’d done the desk at the Shard – will look out for it. I love all of Bill Amberg’s work, what a fantastic career he has had xx

  • Reply Nina March 12, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Oh, that bag and the bike accessories are amazing. I am an avid cyclist as well and love to deck out my bike with pretty things. Leather is such a great material, especially when it gets a well work patina…

    • Reply tina March 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Aren’t they incredible? I love his work… Yes my favourite is worn leather.. nothing beats it. You know I bought my leather jacket in 1994 and still wear it today. Gosh, just realised that’s coming up to 20 years x

  • Reply Nina March 12, 2013 at 3:01 am

    of course I meant to write well worn patina but I guess sometimes you have to work for it 😉

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