London’s Great Western Studios is celebrating the renaissance of British craft in style with a season of exhibitions entitled Inside Design, which will see influential designers, companies and brands explain the development, process and stories behind their products.
Kicking off the series is doyen of the leather world Bill Amberg. The designer’s name has become synonymous with all that is fashionable and fabulous, having collaborated with the likes of Paul Smith, Donna Karan, Romeo Gigli, David Chipperfield, Norman Foster and Renzo Piano. He is a craftsman to the core, and his knowledge of leather is broad and deep – the varied results of which can be seen at this show. He’s also giving a talk at 7pm on Wednesday March 6, and can be heard in conversation with gallerist Libby Sellers on Thursday February 28 (also at 7pm).
Seven projects will be on display, ranging from a parquet floor, similar to the the 280sq m one Amberg made for Selfridges’ men’s shoe department, to an exquisite bridle-leather Table Top desk and a Charge bike (pictured), featuring mud flaps, saddle, toe clips and straps clad in vegetable-tanned water-buffalo hide. Anyone looking for a bespoke commission will emerge with a notebook full of ideas; past projects such as leather-lined lifts for the Shard, panelling for the Maltese Falcon superyacht and the leather-lined Fumoirbar in Claridge’s are especially inspiring. Cycle enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that custom-made, low-profile Pan bike saddles can be ordered at the show (£40).
Inside Design with Bill Amberg Studio is billed as a visual treat for lovers of fine leather objects, but by telling the stories behind these projects it also offers a fascinating insight into the unique vision of one of Britain’s finest craftsmen.