Do you have a particular item that you really love, that every time you see it, feel it, you think of it as one of the most sublime things you own? How it just fits your aesthetic and design sensibilities? And then makes you wonder how it was done, what went into the thought process and the work to create such a perfect product?
I have quite a few (my film cameras for one), but a brand that is really up there for me is Bags By RubberTree. They create – and I’m borrowing from their apt tagline here – ‘purposeful leather pieces that are handcrafted and hand stitched’.
I have some of their pieces and to say they are purposeful is just so accurate. Their stuff is obviously thought of and created to accompany you and enable you to do a task that is routinary and day-to-day. I swear, their stuff puts style in the mundane! That’s what leather does in most cases, but with BBRT, the material takes a back seat to the design itself.
And the names: The Waterboy, The Mighty Box, The Little Scout, The T-Party, The Sling – they’re raw, direct to the point and unpretentious. There’s also an element of skeuomorphism (at least to me) where they are able to relate leather – which is somehow unique and out of place – to ordinary items and activities.
Anyway, I had a bag customized (they are very flexible, but don’t tell them I was the one who said so) and picked it up from their studio. I did not want to miss the opportunity to witness first hand what goes behind the creation of these things I so love. As you will see in the my photos, and I hope I do them justice, the environment in which they operate in and the product they produce go hand in hand in one delightful end-to-end workflow. Everything is so pretty. From the books, to the furniture, even down to the scraps strewn all over.
First, the bag I picked up:
And then the tour. It’s like being Charlie. In the Chocolate Factory.
And here they are: the driven heart, the illuminated mind, the nimble hands, and the unwavering resolve behind BBRT.
Stepping out of the studio, I was left with imprints in my head of the essence of what sensible design is. And what a sensible life feels like.
You can find them in https://www.bagsbyrubbertree.com/
Camera: Leica M6, with Summicron 50; Film Stock: Kodak Colorplus 200