Glasgow-based design studio Timorous Beasties have collaborated with leather expert Bill Amberg to create a colourful digitally printed hide.
The hide forms part of a series that Amberg will present during London Design Festival 2018 this September, as part of the Electroanalogue exhibition of digital innovations at Tom Dixon's new King's Cross studio The Coal Office.
Known for surreal textiles and wallpapers, Timorous Beasties was founded in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons. The two met while studying textile design at Glasgow School of Arts.
For the five square-metre cow hide – the only one revealed so far – Timorous Beasties used one of its existing designs, Omni Drips.
"With the Omni Drips design there was a lot of mess and mucking about. We create all sorts of splats, dribbles, marbling using old inks and wallpaper cores destined for the recycling bin," explained co-founder Simmons.
"The results are scanned into the computer, cleaned up, and then put back together into a pattern and digitally printed."
The Omni Drips design was originally created in 2013, but has been tweaked for the printed leather version. The layers of scanned artwork create a pattern that is bursting with blotches and splatters of colour.
"I love the paradox of mounting chaos and order, in which pattern repeats and colours are elevated to new levels of richness and beauty; there is no way of printing as many colours than with digital technology," said Simmons.
Unlike many textile companies who have adopted digital technologies to reprint their archival designs, Timorous Beasties has always worked with a digital process from the inception of the idea.
"Digital technology has now come of age and has completely transformed our industry. One can print as many colours as one wishes or have huge repeats without tooling costs. The prototype has become the product," explained Simmons.
British designer Tom Dixon opened his new flagship store, showroom and offices inside a Victorian coal yard in London's King's Cross in April this year. The space will host the Electroanalogue exhibition for the duration of London Design Festival, which runs 15 to 23 September 2018.