This July, we embarked on an extraordinary trip to Germany, where we had the privilege of exploring the prestigious Walter Knoll headquarters showroom and gain insights into their leather sourcing process. Accompanied by TP Bennett and Perkins + Will, the experience was both captivating and enriching.
Immersed in Leather Craftsmanship
Our voyage commenced at the Gmelich + Sons Tannery. This tour proved to be a fascinating educational journey, granting us insights into the entire leather production process. From the arrival of raw hides to their cleansing in colossal drums. To the machines working diligently to eliminate imperfections, and finally, the vibrant dying process.
The Art of Selection
Witnessing the meticulous inspection process, we observed how experts scrutinised each hide. Searching for any imperfections, stretch marks, or flaws that could affect its quality. It was intriguing to learn that every hide was assigned a grade ranging from 0 to 15. Every single hide is not only checked inside the tannery but also undergoes a meticulous inspection once it arrives at the Walter Knoll factory. This ensures that only the finest leather is used in their exquisite creations.
Interior Beauty Unveiled
Moving on to Walter Knoll’s headquarters showroom in Herrenberg, we were eager to discover their latest designs and iconic pieces. Among them, the signature Shinzo Lounge Chair stole the spotlight. A fascinating surprise came when one of the chairs was cut in half, revealing the intricate foam layering and innovative use of elastic for enhanced comfort, replacing springs.
Among the showcased gems was the iconic Haussmann Armchair, originally conceived in 1962 by the Swiss architect and designer couple, Trix and Robert Haussmann. The Haussmann Armchair, an exquisite piece from the Swiss Design Collection, reflected timeless elegance and sophistication.
A Memorable Journey
A special thanks to Salli-ann Mathews from Walter Knoll for arranging this unforgettable trip with us. We also extend our heartfelt gratitude to our brilliant guests from TP Bennett – Daniel Stubbs, Georgina Moore, Emily Bradbury, Max Ansell-Wood, and Kagan Varogum, and Perkins & Will – Antzelina Papaioannou and Joanne Cain, for sharing this remarkable journey with us.
– Viannah Ferguson, A&D Team