In the earliest days of bookbinding, when handmade and handcut parchment pages were sewn together and bound inside richly colored covers made of leather, it was common to see elaborate hand-tooling and metalwork on a book’s exterior. Books were rare; their contents were important and often considered precious. Decorating a book’s binding was one way for an artisan to show off his skills while honoring the importance of the book being covered.
Over time, like so many other things, books became mass-produced. One of the first casualties of the publishing industry was the artistic leather binding that had once been so meticulously hand-crafted for each book. And now, in many ways, books themselves have become a casualty to electronic devices and eReaders.
These days, those of us who want to evoke the sensation of reading from a rich leather bound book when using their electronic devices have enjoyed Oberon Designs‘ gorgeous hand-tooled leather covers. As you can see by clicking here we have reviewed them extensively in the past. While these other covers were rich with tooling and absolutely beautiful, none of them really looked like what one might consider a classic example of old-world style binding … until now.
In 1969, after hitchhiking through Siena and the hill towns of Italy at 18, Brendan returned home passionately inspired by the traditional, even ancient modes of leather work he’d seen there. The Siena line is a nod to the magic of youth and it’s embrace and reinterpretation of old world craftsmanship.
With their new Sienna line, Oberon Design has created a book-style binding that blows away anything else I’ve seen. Available in two styles: a black spine with a colored front piece or a colored spine with a black front piece, I was sent the black and orchid version; Mike received the black and saddle version.
Our cover unites old school leather artistry with the genius of high tech in a unique compliment to this remarkable device. It features a simple but effective stand for using with the internal iPad keyboard and a built in platform for horizontal viewing and a camera lens hole.
On our recent family vacation to New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada and California, I removed the “simple” Miniot wooden Mk2 cover that I usually use, and I gave the Sienna Cover a try. Granted, the iPad suddenly seemed a lot more heavy because of the added weight of the leather, but the tradeoff was that my iPad now looked and felt like a fine leather journal. As Kev drove, I held my iPad inside this case with the front flap folded back, reading aloud from the end of the second Game of Thrones Book, A Clash of Kings, and starting on A Storm of Swords; for some reason, it seemed a perfect match.
The exterior of the Sienna Cover is composed of rich, full grained leather with a beautiful texture that has been richly dyed. A patterned pewter tab on the front works with the built-in bungee closure system to keep the cover securely shut until the iPad is needed. The cover’s spine features raised leather ridges (vertebrae?), which only serve to further the illusion of a handsewn masterpiece.
Opening the cover reveals the secure holster system that keeps the iPad safe. There are small pockets at the bottom of the cover for business cards or other small miscellaneous paper items.
Our cover offers real world protection for your investment against the bumps and scrapes it will encounter at the office or coffeehouse. Our Britannia pewter button combines with a high quality, marine grade bungee and a riveted corner strap system that insures the security of your device.
Everything about the cover is perfectly constructed, and the book effect is absolutely stunning. The Sienna is a pleasure to carry, to look at, and to use; in fact, people went out of their way to pay me compliments on this case, which is something that doesn’t usually happen when I’m using my typical cover.
Mike put together a video about the Sienna he received; in it he shows how like other Oberon covers, the Sienna has a bungee system which allows it to be used as a media stand. He also mentions the removable plastic sheets that come installed in each side of the cover; they are the first thing I always remove, because they do allow the flaps to be more “floppy” and when gone they lighten the entire package (even if only by a bit).
If you have been looking for something that will make your iPad feel more “book-like”, if you love hand-crafted luxury, and if you don’t mind adding a bit of weight and bulk to your iPad, then you definitely should check out the Oberon Design Sienna Cover for the new iPad.
The Oberon Design Sienna Cover for the New iPad is available directly from the manufacturer.
What I Like: Amazing detail and beautiful craftsmanship; iPad is securely held by straps inside, and it is protected from bumps and light drops by the cover
What Needs Improvement: Does add bulk and weight to the iPad (although I didn’t really mind)