Bill Amberg Studio recently completed an innovative and impressive project in the heart of the City of London, demonstrating the studio’s fine craftmanship on a large scale, and the versatility of leather in modern and engaging interiors.
Bill Amberg and his team were commissioned to create a crucial component of the interior at 22 Bishopsgate, the tallest tower in the City of London’s financial district and a landmark project to create London’s first ‘vertical village’.
Designed by PLP Architecture for AXA IM – Real Assets and Lipton Rogers Developments, the 62-storey commercial tower can accommodate up to 12,000 people across its 2 million sq ft of internal floor space. Bill Amberg Studio worked closely with PLP Architecture for three years to realise the brief provided from Sir Stuart Lipton in which they were asked to propose concepts for the tower’s ground and first floor atrium, known as ‘The Library’.
The aim was to provide a warm heart to the building. The design concept comprises flat and twisted padded leather panels, which rise from the escalator soffit at ground level, twisting like a ribbon up to and within the ceiling, before returning to floor level on the opposite side of the entrance hall.
A Barrisol background allows for light and air into the space, while maintaining the uniform shape for both elements.
The twisted ribbon-like construction of the ceiling panels was developed in a two-part shell, designed and developed at the studio, with the leatherworking carried by hand by specialist craftspeople in the Bill Amberg Studio workshop in Park Royal, north London.
Designed to work with the building’s internal finishes of stone and steel, the studio developed a heavily drummed and naturally grained leather, in collaboration with its European tannery. In a soft tan, the leather has colour and textural variation across its surface, creating warmth and a subtle tonal difference between each panel.
The view from the outside of the building was a crucial factor to consider. The Library is the centre point between the tower’s two entrances, and doubles as a gallery with curated temporary art exhibits, and a visual impact was required to draw people into the space.
Leather-clad panelling to the ground and first floors continues the theme across the core reception walls of the atrium, creating a sense of continuity within the building.
“We are immensely proud to have contributed to this project: a new landmark within the ever-evolving fabric of the London skyline. 22 Bishopsgate is the largest project by floor area in the UK to be registered for WELL health and wellbeing certification, and it has also been designed to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. It was a challenging project but immensely satisfying to see the final installation, showing that leatherwork can enhance and bring warmth to large open spaces on a grand scale“ says Bill Amberg, Founder and Director of Bill Amberg Studio