Estonian-born designer Oliver Ruuger, and German-born craftsman Volker Koch, run a leather craft and design studio based at Studio 1A, 69A Southgate Road.
The company specialises in creating labour-intensive, masterly-crafted artefacts, that have been exhibited in museums and galleries wordwide, including the V&A gallery in London and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. Their in-house bag collection, Silent goods, consists of no-nonsense luxury leather goods “free of branding, distraction and design clutter”.
Originally established in a studio in Bermondsey, they moved into the former carpenter’s workshop in 2014. “I live across the road and spotted The Benyon Estate sign,” explains Oliver. “We were looking for new premises and this space was perfect. A lot of people assume that working with leather is all about hand craft but in fact there’s lot of equipment that’s required. We operate some beautiful old German-made machinery that dates from the 50s and 60s, some of which requires quite specific setup and care. The Benyon Estate team were very accommodating about helping us rig everything up.”
The studio houses their design and craft teams. When it comes to crafting bags for a larger number of customers, they liaise with a 160-year-old manufacturer in Istanbul. Each piece is made using the world’s finest eco-conscious materials (even their bespoke typeface uses 50 per cent less ink) and transparency is fundamental to their cause. As an antidote to high street luxury brands adding intangible values to their products, each Silent Goods bag is implanted with a digital tag which reveals information about how the bag was made down to the last detail.
From artist to florist, young family to lifelong resident, those who live and work in De Beauvoir Town each have their own connection with the local area, the community and The Benyon Estate team. We pride ourselves in providing the best possible accommodation, whether living or working space, to each of our residents, and enjoy seeing the spaces in which they live become their home. Read the first-hand stories of some of these residents here.