Hive: Leather Patches Create 3D Upholstery Textiles

In this month’s Deconstruction, we take a look at the Hive Ottoman and Table Collection from atelier oï for B&B Italia. Using small leather patches, or “leaves”, atelier oï came up with a way of connecting them to create a three-dimensional textile. Following much trial and error, they figured out a beautiful way to utilize the textile’s complex structure and turn it into the design element it is today. After fitting the textile onto hexagonal ottomans, almost like upholstery, they then paired them with low tables made from a folded sheet of metal. Want to see how they made this beehive-inspired collection happen? Check it out…


We formed a study with the leather patches, or “leaves”, in different colours.


Here’s the front of the single colour study of leather patches.


And the back of the study, with pieces of the individual leather patches not yet attached.


After the studies on how to work with the patches, an initial sketch was done on how to use the connected leather structures on an ottoman.


Various models of ottomans were created in different sizes and forms with different colors of leather.


Then it was time to figure out how to wrap the legs of the ottoman. Here’s a study working with the patches.


This is a study, and the first model, of trying to figure out how to end around the leg with the leather textile top.


Since the patches have irregular ends, in this study we came up with a way to finish the corners and sides of the ottoman.


Part of the idea for the design was to pair it with a similarly shaped table. These are some initial sketches for the table design.


The finished product! The ottoman in three colors with the tables.


Hive featured in an installation at the B&B Italia Store during the Milan Furniture Fair in April, 2013.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.