Process creates works of art
Leather is making a comeback in the home on chairs, bed heads and even the floor, but perhaps the most surprising use can be found on walls.
Italian company Studioart turns leather wall tiles into veritable works of art with a combination of hi-tech precision and hand-crafted processes.
The collection offers a choice of nine types of leather and 165 colours.
'We have Waternatural and Watersuede, which are processed with water-and-oil repellent treatments,' says Studioart owner Nadia Dalle Mese.
Watersuede looks like plush velvet, but is an extremely soft leather that has been padded to create a three-dimensional look.
'There is also Pearl, a pure aniline leather treated with metal powders to result in a pearlised effect, and Mushroom, where leather is cut into ultra-thin strips to create ever-changing three-dimensional effects.'
The techniques and colours take years to research and develop. The initial collection was three years in the making from conception, when Studioart was formed in 2003, to completion and retail sale.
The company is an offshoot of the Conceria Montebello, a family tannery in operation for more than 40 years in Vicenza, Italy.
It also provides leather for the production of accessories by brands such as Chanel, Gucci and Ralph Lauren.
'Studioart offers a product that is extremely flexible in its use and that can allow for a high degree of personalisation, opening up the possibilities for a wide variety of space interpretations from classic to modern, and giving the possibility to create unique solutions and meet the most diverse needs,' says Dalle Mese, who was in Hong Kong to promote the tiles which are sold through Altfield.
'Our latest products present new geometries, patterns and prints,' Dalle Mese says. 'During our exhibition at Paris Deco Off in January we presented the triangle, and added to the more traditional square and rectangular tiles already in the collection.'
Dalle Mese believes that trends in leather tiles are dictated by various projects architects work on.
'Some architects may opt for collections based on the mosaic concept while others may prefer mono-chromatic larger-tile formats,' she says.
'Due to its intrinsic resistance, leather can almost last forever. Age can slightly affect the original appearance, which is why we offer two cleaning kits, according to the different types of leathers.'