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KALEIDOSCOPIC GLAMOUR

by Mavis Wong on Apr 18, 2012 in Interiors , Products
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Home interiors are more tactile and sensual than ever, thanks to Studioart’s diverse range of leather tiles

Think of leather and what often comes to mind are words like ‘texture’, ‘craftsmanship’ and ‘luxury’, as well as products like bags, shoes and furniture – ‘interior walls’ as an application does not spring to mind. Eager to challenge this is Studioart, a brand developed by an Italian tannery which supplies leather to major fashion labels. Playing with shapes, sizes, finishes, texture and even lighting, the leather specialist breaks down accepted boundaries by exploring the possibility of leather wallcoverings.

The resulting leather tiles celebrate every distinctive quality of leather, offering a wide range of stunning visual effects for home interiors with numerous combinations.

On a recent visit to Hong Kong, Studioart president Nadia Dalle Mese (NDM) and sales manager Michele Ascione (MA) talked to IPOnline about the brand.

What is the vision behind Studioart?
MA: The idea was born in 2006 and it was to bring our knowledge about leather and the fashion industry into leather interiors. We didn’t want to only supply leather, but to add value. That’s how we came up with this leather wallcovering concept.

What is the most common application?
MA: Our leather tiles are mainly used in high-end residential projects – installations in the living room, headboards in the bedroom or even our water- and oil-resistant products for the bathroom. The tiles can really be used in many aspects; we’re becoming strong in the hospitality business as well.

In terms of design, the mosaic looks stunning…
MA: Our customers find it very attractive because they’ve never seen something like this developed in leather. It’s a very challenging thing to do because we make and assemble all the tiles by hand. It demonstrates our capability of doing incredible things with leather.

What are the current trends in leather tile design at the moment?
NDM: We developed the mosaic pattern about six years ago when there was a boom for mosaic. But the mosaic boom has then slowed down a little bit. People now go for a different dimension – big or medium.
MA: I’d say in Asia, the small dimension is still quite popular. The most popular ones are the luxury small-sized tiles (gold and silver), but the natural things are very popular here as well. So there are two opposites – one that’s very clean and large, while the other very small and shiny.

Nadia, you’re an architect. From your viewpoint, what is the strength of these tiles?
NDM: The biggest advantage of our products is that they are natural and warm. They match very well with other natural products like wood and stones. Also, it’s a new product – people need new things. Like wallpaper, a leather wall can create a traditional effect, but if you mix-and-match tiles of different finishes – flat and padded for example – it gives great depth.

How does lighting contribute to this illusion of depth?
NDM: Lighting can really change the whole look of a wall. With the light, you see a variation of colour and depth even though all the tiles are of the same colour.
MA: If you have good lighting, you can create very nice effects, especially in the flat and padded combination. For example, if you use only one kind of leather tile in different dimensions, lighting can help create this kind of special effect. It’s difficult to find a natural product that can give you both a flat look and a dimensional look.

Do you work with designers to develop a particular leather wall?
MA: Architects and designers come to us, saying ‘we have a wall or headboard of this size. What would you suggest?’ We help them develop the projects and it’s really a close collaboration between our graphic design office and the project designers. We do the renderings for them, customise a few tiles or even develop ways to solve their problems.

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