How is a leather cabinet made?
As I am interested in all the ways bags, leather goods and leather objects are made, I was really excited when I found out that Tommy Takali with whom I took part in the HOT-SHOP 11 makes leather cabinets.
Tommy, you are working for Method Studio in Scotland. It is a creative production house of finely crafted bespoke objects and handmade furniture. What is exactly your role there?
I am a craftsman by trade – working with natural materials such as wood, leather and metal, to hand make bespoke luxury objects which are designed exclusively by the husband and wife co-founders of Method – Callum Robinson and Marisa Giannasi.
Our small team of three cabinetmakers work alongside Marisa and Callum in a rural workshop in the woods in Linlithgow, Scotland, where each piece is handcrafted from start to finish.
The creative environment in Method is always evolving – we are given the opportunity to experiment with new techniques and materials and to be truly involved in the entire process of crafting each piece we make.
To say I become emotionally attached to an object that I’ve spent weeks or months hand-crafting would not be far wrong.
What is your professional background and how did you come to work with leather?
My passion for fine woodwork started at a relatively young age – while still at school – where I won 1st place in the Trades House of Glasgow competition for two consecutive years.
Having always been fascinated by how things are made, I went on to study furniture design at college. It was here, during my end of year exhibition, where my work caught the attention of Method Studio.
I was offered an internship with the company in 2016, which, after looking into their inspiring story, was impossible to turn down. That great opportunity led to a permanent cabinetmaker position and the rest, as they say, is history.
Could you please explain to us the process of making a leather cabinet?
Yes, in short, the processes can vary depending on the construction of the object. Most times it all begins in the leather studio – cutting panels to size, skiving, stitching and preparing the leather for wrapping the cabinet.
In the metal workshop, the hardware for the leather cabinet is either handmade or customized, then polished and finished to the desired look. A carcass is meticulously made using birch plywood or/and softwood.
The carcass would then be sanded and prepared for leather to be affixed. Usually, the final stage is fixing the hardware such as hinges and handles.
What was the most impressive object you ever did a leather cabinet for?
At Method every project is impressive, we made 25 stunning trunks for Burberry for a bespoke fragrance range. The trunks were heading for luxury stores all over the world. This project was a team effort and more about the Burberry trunks can be found on Method studios website.
The most impressive project that was handed to me to make has to be the Bentley Mulliner sample case – a black leather briefcase with nickel black stainless steel bands and nickel black hardware.
Inside the case was a lift out orange tray with orange leather tabs that held samples of leather and veneers for Bentley’s clients, to choose from for their very own bespoke Mulliner inverter.
I recently completed this stunning leather case and it was off to Bentleys HQ in Crew. No pressure when Callum told me the C.E.O of Bentley would be receiving the case.
What is your opinion about the market for bespoke leather goods in the future?
Bespoke leather goods will always have a place in the market. The durability and long lifespan of leather as a material will always make it one of the most valued options.
Alongside this, the way in which leather ages adds to its beauty – as every piece will develop its own individual character within its unique environment over time.
A bit like whiskey – it refines and develops better with age. For me those qualities – its adaptability and durability makes for an ideal material for bespoke objects and therefore I believe leather goods will always be sought after.
© Pictures by Method Studio and Graeme Hunter Pictures
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