A new homeware collection from Berluti is a high-spirited homage to modern European design
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.
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.’ §