At United Strangers, Materials Is In Our DNA and What We Live and Breath By.
At United Strangers, materials is in our DNA and what we live and breath by. We aim to find materials that can be treated, distressed, reworked and styled to create timeless designs with neutral tones and patterns. At the forefront of this is LEATHER, whilst it is a material used worldwide, there are many forms and techniques that go in to producing each piece of leather. We aim at United Strangers to use only the best hides from the worlds finest tanneries, from hand distressed finishing to soft nubuck tanning processing.
There are four main types of leather common in furniture and to help you choose the best let’s explore how they are processed differently and what makes Aniline Leather the clear choice for us at United Strangers.
Low quality cowhide is used because the natural top layers are all sanded away to leave an even surface. Next, the surface is given multiple layers of pigmentation and protective finish, the other issue with closed pores is that the leather is unable to breathe, making the leather feel cold in Winter and hot in Summer as you’re really only touching the pigmentation and the protective finish as opposed to the leather itself.
Pigmented Leather is less processed than Corrected Grain Leather, leaving most of the cowhide intact. The major downfall of Pigmented Leather is that the natural material is completely covered by colour pigments and a protective coating, once again closing off the pores and creating a stiffer leather from the lack of breathability. Due to the protective coating used, there is very little to no natural characteristics to this leather.
Semi-Aniline Leathers have a light pigment coating on the surface, the equivalent of putting on a light layer of foundation and makeup on the skin. This reduces the size of the pores but the leather remains breathable. The major downside of Semi-Aniline leather is that it’s not as natural, reducing the skin to skin softness and breathability, covering some of the cowhide’s natural texture and reducing the flexibility.
-Warm in Winter, cool in Summer
-Aging without cracks
-Natural to the touch
Less than 5% of all cowhides can be processed into Aniline Leather, this is because any cowhide that has blemishes, such as horn scratches, warts, insect bites and any scarring cannot be used to create Aniline Leather.
We choose our skins from the regions of Brazil and Argentina for the reason that the animals are grass fed in large open fields where the animals are able to roam free. This helps to limit the scars and insect bites etc as well as ensuring the natural tanning oils in the leather are enriched.
When selecting the most complete skin, special treatment is given during processing. No pigments are used to cover the flaws, and of course there are no chemicals to seal the pores, retain the most natural state of the cowhide, and maintain maximum breathability. Leather is soft and plump to the touch, warm and delicate, and is a very precious top item in leather.
The most important element when working with the leather is the selection of the skin and the processing of this skin. When selecting the skin its important to understand the finished product the skin can be used for as well as the size and usage of the skin, not all skins can be used for sofas and not all skins can be used for small products. It depends on the surface, the thickness, size and appearance.
The processing of the skin goes together with selection, once the skin has been selected for a certain finish or look then the processing stages happen. Whether it requires a light pigment for Nubuck or a small pigment for Semi Aniline the process always follows selection.
We selected our Sahara tan leather to be used with the College sofa due to the natural hand finishing of the leather works well with organic forms as well as providing a tighter feel that when aged over time gets deeper with each use. The leathers natural oils help to keep the form of the sofa in tact.
As part of United Strangers experimentation process in to leather finishing, we work with a hand rubbing technique where all stages and processes are created by hand, like art on a canvas this give us the flexibility to create different depths, tones and feels to the leather. The process takes 16 days from start to finish and involves, hand pigment applications / dyeing, steam machines, tumble drying and infra red humidity drying.
These leathers require the finest selections of leather skins with only 2% of skins being able to be used, due to there nakedness and pigmentation process. Whilst most leathers have a filling process, this leather is left raw and naked with a only a small colour pigment being added, this pigment is dyed through to the skin and highlights the purity of the hide. The hide has a soft suede effect on the surface that is also part of the tanning process.
Adhering to the concept of environmental production, we integrate the remaining leather materials in production into the visual characteristics of different product designs, which not only highlights the advanced concept of the US, but also increases the intensity of the design.
Simply remove the dust. If liquid accidentally splashes on the sofa, it is recommended to wipe it with a sponge or a dry cloth as soon as possible. If the leather is dry and wrinkled, use a professional care solution to clean it, avoid sunlight, and avoid being close to the heat source.
Prepare a piece of 3M super fine sand paper,wipe the stain area gently with the sand paper, until the stain disappears, brush away the leather dust produced. If the stain is near to stitches, make sure the sand paper is folded to a tip and then wipe the stain off with caution, don't break the stitches.