Innovative use of leather or taking a happy pill

We’ve all read about how horrible judging is in design award programs…so let’s look at the bright side of design for a second.

I was really happy with most of the concepts featured in the back of Innovation this quarter. One that caught my attention was a Kyocera phone by Altitude that incorporated leather. You can see it on their website at:

I’m a big fan of leather and I see it being used a lot in furniture. I even pitched it for other products, although I’ve always been shot down. Has anyone else seen something of interest with this material? What do you think of Altitude’s “boomer” phone? Total BS or something interesting? Zippy?

I am completely on your side.

I simply love leather. And I digg high quality shoes and bags. Which have been much better obtainable before the Berlin Wall came down, because a lot of these things had traditionally been made in south-eastern europe.

But using natural leather on products, which are manufactured large scale, is a difficult thing for more than one reason:

  • cost of material

  • unstable supply

  • inconsistant quality

  • acceptance of the sligthly changing surface in the design.

  • acceptance of the wear and tear of a natural material.

Even in most traditional leather contexts like car interiour und bags a lot of high-tech semi materials are in use and with ever improving results.

So in conclusion it might not come as a surprise that I have been unable to bring leather into use in one of our projects, as well. Even customers, who where aiming for a highclass product, conveying a classy old-worldly feel have been unable to reproduce the look we wanted to achieve for high volume output. Due to restrictions in cost and due to the difficulty to locate the right partners, who could supply on an industry ready basis.

This might be one of the downturns of the shift to cheaper production “hubs”. Even here in europe the number of clients, who can rely on their own manufacturing background and experience is dwindling.

Best regards
mo-i (back to work now)

P.S: did anyone else recognise the change of Jaguar seats within the last 20 years. I might be adding a photo gallery later.

bonded leather for consistency.

are we talking cow, pig, goats, deer, wbuffalo, reptililes or birds?

my employer was tired of dealing with the issues above bt moi. they bought their own tannery. leather for everyone! yay!

I like the use of leather in this manner, in general. It replaces the awful leather slip cases, and might provide some drop protection. Some of the tech-meets-analog choices are forced seeming, and the stipple pattern combined with pebble texture of the leather, plus the analog clock, looks like a collage of elements they wanted to include. I like the strong chamfer form and it looks like it would be easy to open, nice to hold, and create a good icon.

Ultrasuede is a somewhat more benign material, in that it doesn’t come from animals, and has suede-like properties. We used it as a cover for an electronic organizer concept.

Brooks saddles are entirely leather (aside from seat rails) and they do some neat things with the material. Their grips are quite innovative - they use stacks of leather rings, two metal caps, and three actual spokes:

Don’t know if you have seen a Vertu phone before? Very expensive, but amazingly well built using hand made and very low volume processes. Not really my cup of tea though…

Me: Hadn’t seen that before, thanks for the post. That Vertu phone is a real jewel. Nice detailing. Not my taste either, but I can’t say they didn’t try.

They are a bit gaudy for me, but if you look at the target market, they fit pretty well. Think of a banker who just got his bonus and wants something to go with his new Ferrari… more like high end watches than phones.

The other materials are pretty special too: machined titanium, polished ceramic, saphire glass etc. Even the key pads are insanely detailed. Instead of silicone or PC, they use tiny bearing races and scissor mechanisms so they have an amazingly tactile click to them.

Not cheap either, I think the basic models start at $5k and go all the way up to $250k + for models with custom diamond bling :open_mouth:

Ohhhhh yeeaahhhhh…

Back to that Vertu… they’re supposed to also work EVERYWHERE. By that I mean they get incredible reception. Of course you have to drop serious money for one, but to each is own I guess.

That saddle above is also quite spendy. The current version is somewhere above $700US. Limited edition though.

i’ve always related high-quality, well tailored upholstery as very sensual. sinking into it and the aroma is akin to eating candy…with my backside?

i love going to neocon to see everyone’s top hides on their latest work.

game set and match…the inside of a maserati quatroporte…mile after mile of lovely leather.

its also biodegradable and sustainable. Just grow more wheat to feed more cows or kangaroo. I would prefer my motorcycle racing leathers made of Kangaroo because it’s lighter. Check these out…

if you say “Maserati Quattroporte”, this thread is definitly in need of

  • Poltrona Frau

Innovative use of leather since 1912

well, leather iswn’t alwasys the greenest material. you have to be very careful how it is tanned. some leather tnning processes are very toxic.

NURB - what’s that saddle called? Is that the infamous “Ox-Blood” finish?

That there is the Brooks Swallow. Not sure about the name of the finish, but its a beauty. That is the 2005 edition.

More Here

I have to ask now. Those seats are beautiful, but why would I buy one? It just looks like I would be sterilized by it…they don’t look comfortable at all.

They break in over the course of about 1 season, then you can keep them for the rest of your life. They mold to your body (with conditioning, the seat that is) and they’re very comfortable. Talk to anyone with a Rivendell and ask them what kind of saddle they have… 90% of your answers will be Brooks. You’ll get about 50% asking any urban fixie rider these days, too.

as a cyclist…i know many fellow cyclist that are crazy for brooks. the great thing is that they encourage long term ownership. When you first get one it’s rigid and tough, they ussually take about 10,000 miles to break in. When you do finally break on in you become part of a club amongst other broken in brooks owners. Pretty cool byproduct if you ask me. Non leather saddles are good out of the box and just keep going until its garbage. Saddles typically do not have a high resale value unless its a cult item like a red or white perforated leather turbomatic saddle or a rolls or regal.

I’ve owned one, the B-17 standard and had to give it up because it was too wide for my narrow ass.

Innovative use of leather or taking a happy pill

I’ve been thinking about this one. I think the word innovative is throwing me. I don’t think it is necessarily “innovative”, but it is appropriate. The inconsistency in the leather can be played up. It is such a small piece, that the individual piece will be very consistent, but there will be some variation piece to piece as the position on the hide changes, and between hides. Instead of overdying this out, it would be great to make it a feature, a sign of individuality. Of course China will want to make it as consistent as possible, but you can get around that.

As pointed out some tanning can be very toxic, but a vegi-tanned leather will age very nicely, and vary depending on the sweat composition of the individual owner.

Again, not sure if this is really innovative, but it is appropriate, and would hopeful minimize those horrible leatherette cases! Those are like Crocs!

Thought that this was an awesome design in general- had interesting leather details.