Inside Design with Bill Amberg at Great Western Studios
Bill Amberg and his London studio have been working with leather since 1985. Amberg has worked on both fashion projects, designing bags to be sold by Liberty and Paul Smith, and interior design commissions, including the manufacturing of panels for Roman Abramovich’s yacht, The Eclipse.
Some of the firm’s most innovative designs can currently be seen, as part of a series of exhibitions, at Great Western Studios.
The Inside Design show provides an introduction to the company’s work, including a range of items from a bike, a desk and a bag to a pair of doors and a floor. The idea is for viewers to experience the scope of leather as a material, therefore interaction – touching and handling the products – is encouraged.
Large samples are hung around the space to display different textural qualities: smooth, rough, soft and variations in thickness. This exhibition is as much a demonstration of the creative process, as of the finished items themselves.
This is illustrated, for example, on the stand for a bike seat where a series of models take viewers through each stage of the design’s progression.
The use of leather within the products varies from the subtle and quite beautiful to the bold and extravagant. The writing desk consists of a minimal wooden desk with a thick band of red leather running through it.
The concept is simple yet the effect is stylish. The leather doors, on the other hand, are overstated and could be considered garish, yet they make a strong visual impact.
One of the most interesting and original items on display is the leather floor, which resembles wooden herringbone tiles but is slightly softer in appearance. It’s lovely to touch, but this raises the question of who, in the Selfridges shoe department where it’s installed, is going to be touching the floor anyway?
In that environment many will fail to notice the material it’s created from, therefore one does wonder whether it is worth the labour-intensive and expensive process that is required to manufacture it.
When asked to consider leather objects, many will immediately think of chairs and accessories. This exhibition demonstrates that there are actually many inventive ways in which it can be used – from a covering for shelves to mud flaps for a bike. The show is a real eye-opener and should be recommended to anyone interested in design.
Inside Design with Bill Amberg is on at Great Western Studios until 6th March 2013, for further information visit here.