In December Kristalia invited us out to Italy to explore the fascinating Conceria Presot tannery which supplies them with the leather for their 1085 edition chair designed by Carol Bartoli.

The tannery has a remarkable heritage dating back to 1933 manufacturing leather for high end Italian fashion brands such as Gucci and Prada and historically they manufactured the boots chosen by Ardito Desio’s team to climb the K2 mountains. In particular the tannery specialises in the production of incredibly thick hide leather for the soles of men’s shoes.

Kristalia set Bartoli the brief of designing a chair with a material which had never been used before in furniture and it was the tannery’s unique legacy that attracted Bartoli to approach them about a collaboration which certainly through up some unique challenges due to the leather thickness. The leather is 7mm thick more than twice the thickness of a standard upholstery leather. To solve the challenge Bartoli successfully took inspiration from the world of high fashion (the visible stitching of the two hides) and from the boating industry (the use of tie-rods to secure/’tame’ the leather).

So set in its ways and proud of their heritage are the workers at the tannery that there was outrage when new yellow machinery was installed, the workers were so affronted by the colour that they volunteered their weekend to paint the equipment grey so that it blended into the environment in a more acceptable manner. In the photos below you can see that even as the tannery has evolved and brought in technological advancements the factory is still seeped in history and tradition and has fought not to lose any of its authenticity.