Already an established maker of the finest leather accessories and menswear, Berluti has found added purpose under Kris Van Assche, its artistic director since 2018. Having revived 17 pieces of original Pierre Jeanneret furniture for last year’s Design Miami, upholstering them with the brand’s Venezia leather, Van Assche is now launching a Home & Office Objects collection that brings together creativity, heritage and craftsmanship.
‘Berluti is above all known for working leather – leather shoes, leather accessories, and so to make the next step to homeware seems logical,’ explains Van Assche. Rather than designing from scratch, he opted to cast a series of European design classics in a new light. ‘The idea is to take existing design, but to embellish it with our know-how.’
From Werkstätte Carl Auböck, a fourth-generation brass workshop based in Vienna, Van Assche selected desk accessories, a magazine rack and a wastepaper basket, accentuating their perfect proportions with a distinctive patina and delicate hand-stitching.
Collaborating with Italian wood workshop Bottega Ghianda, he reinterpreted the work of architect Gae Aulenti. Handcrafted in maple and ebony, Aulenti’s trays and photo frames are now finished in colourful Venezia leather, adding to their tactility and visual allure.
Kris van Assche, Berluti creative director, with some of the Pierre Jeanneret pieces, restored by François Laffanour of Paris’ Laffanour Galerie Downtown, and upholstered in Berluti leather. Clockwise from front, ‘Base Building’ desk in neelam blue; daybed in nespola orange; and ‘Cinéma’ armchairs in simal red and sukhna sunset purple, all price on request, from Laffanour Galerie Downtown.
Equally covetable are Afra and Tobia Scarpa’s ‘Cartoccio’ bowls, created for Milanese silversmiths San Lorenzo. Their memorable forms, evoking elegantly crumpled sheets of paper, have been given a fresh spin with the addition of Venezia leather on the outside, an unusual yet fitting complement to pure silver.
Van Assche has additionally commissioned designer Simon Hasan to create five new vases, with statuesque silhouettes achieved via a 15th-century crafts technique, in which vegetable-tanned leather is coaxed into specific forms via boiling in a wooden mould. ‘The fact that he makes art pieces in a similar way to how we traditionally make shoes felt like a nice match,’ says Van Assche. ‘Simon has always worked in natural colours, and it was the first time he’s brought colour and patina to the table.'
Spanning seven decades of design, the Home & Office Objects are a testament not only to the versatility and allure of Berluti’s premium leathers, but also to Van Assche’s expansive vision for the brand.
‘Know-how and craft can be a little old-fashioned, and it’s part of my job to make them contemporary,’ he reflects. ‘It’s the definition of Berluti: there’s one foot in tradition, one foot in the future.’
Berluti’s artistic director Kris Van Assche at the brand’s Paris HQ, introducing the new Home & Office Collection. Film by Lucas Posson and Axel Maffert
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TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.
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