The Bill Amberg Leather Print Collection

London Design Week is filled with so many launches, events, showroom presentations and seminars it takes some effort to get to everything you want to see. Today’s blog shares a long time in the making collaboration between leather master Bill Amberg and a handful of wonderful designer and creator. 

Unveiled last week was this new series of digitally printed leather hides. 

‘Printed leather is either niche and expensive or has a nasty finish that looks like paint and is not hard wearing. It struck me that no-one had been approaching its creation from the process point of view.’

Together with a tannery in Europe, Amberg spent three years developing a technique that results in the high quality, long-lasting print that had eluded him, and with 30 years’ experience of making bespoke leather products, interiors and furniture, behind him, he knew where to look.

Amberg then chose five design friends to create this debut collection. Tom Dixon has created four patterns, and these, along with pieces from Faye Toogood, Timorous Beasties, Alexandra Champalimaud and Natasha Baradaran, were launched at Dixon’s King’s Cross Showroom during the London Design Festival

“Foil for upholstery or Hair for furniture. What’s interesting to me is to use this lovely natural material with its hyper-real printed designs in the most surprising way possible.”
-Tom Dixon

Photographed in a super high resolution, Tom’s collection explores the notion of materiality in a digital age. His visibly manipulated and hyper-real designs aim to startle the eye, by using pattern in unexpected ways. Rock, Foil, Hair and Dichroic play on a dislocation caused by exaggerated proportion, and furthered by the playful unconventionality of each featured material for upholstery and architectural use.

‘The leather has to accept each colour and allow it to penetrate properly, and dark blue and black are the hardest,’ Amberg explains. Each 5 sq m hide, taken from European bulls, is then finished with a durable dressing that retains the grain and handle of the leather.

Above, Faye Toogood’s design Sketchpad. This evocative Toogood design, named Sketchpad, is intended for use in medium to large-scale upholstery projects, and interior architectural functions.

Natasha Baradaran’s design Elle is an enlarged and abstracted pattern drawing influence from the scales of fish and from fragments of bone. With the all-over pattern presented in a small repeat, it works applied to both smaller upholstery items as well as larger paneling.

Lua (meaning ‘moon’ in Portuguese) is an abstract study of the organic shapes found in indigenous basket-weaving practices. The print by Alexandra Champalimaud features clusters of nebulous circles, as if in movement across an expansive plain.

Alexandra used watercolours to create the initial design, inspiring a more artful and tactile approach to the pattern. A pairing of dusty rose, grey and neutral hues bring about a sense of depth, gradation and subtlety.

Now we just have to get to work to see which hides might fit into our schemes! What an interesting project…

Images David Cleveland / Bill Amberg Studio

To purchase the collection just click this link.

Nicky’s World September 2018