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From Tuesday 12th to Sunday 17th April, on the fringe of the Milan Furniture Show, Material Matters will bring together the latest innovations in leather and technological glass to showcase French expertise in innovation and excellence. Divided into two separate circuits, Skin-Tingling Design and Sensitive Technology, the scenography offers multiple and novel fields of expression in the form of tangible applications using materials that are both ancestral and innovative.

puce THEME 1 – LEATHER ON SIDE: Leather Tiles

The mechanisation of leather production threatened the very existence of the traditional techniques of our tanners. For example, the production of leather drive belts has become rare. Yet it is this technique that inspired the production of these innovative leather floor tiles, which are both graphic and very resistant. The leather is rolled up using the same method as that for the belts, and then is shaped into a square to create a floor tile that benefits from leather’s remarkable resistance to abrasion. This unique procedure has brought an ancestral technique up-to-date and can be used to design a wide range of floor and wall coverings.

Leather Tiles
Design François Azambourg
Leather offcuts rolled lengthwise and glued
W.300 x L.300 x D.4

puce THEME 2 – COMPOSITE LEATHER: Tufted Chair

Leather has similar properties to textiles, making it possible to imagine extremely light objects. The chair is stitched, padded and then styled. A synthetic resin is injected then distributed by rotational moulding. The result is a hollow chair in composite leather.

Tufted Chair
Design François Azambourg
Vegetable tanned cowhide hardened with synthetic resin
H.825 x W.350 x D.515

puce THEME 3 – THE SENSUALITY OF LEATHER: Padded Leather Sun Lounger,

The softness and the flexibility of leather are the distinctive characteristics of this noble material. The welcoming shape of this sun lounger is an invitation to explore a new dimension of leather's inherent comfort. It proves itself to be particularly sensual thanks to a special production technique developed after research carried out on combinations of layers of material. The leather is glued onto the soft side of a foam panel. This unprecedented combination further enhances the sensuality of the material.

Padded Leather Sun Lounger
Design François Azambourg
Layers of calfskin and foam
Steel frame
H.675 x D.640 x P.1205

puce THEME 4 – THE FLEXIBILITY OF LEATHER: Crumpled Screen, Undulating Armchair

The flexibility of certain leathers gives the material remarkable malleability. It can follow the lines of a shape to perfection and show up all the visual details. Two sheets of leather are glued onto a sheet of aluminium. The whole structure is then crumpled. Supported by the aluminium structure, the screen is decorated with original crumpled effects which enhance the natural beauty of the leathers. The
armchair is built from a sheet of honeycomb aluminium onto which are glued two sheets of leather. The motif of the aluminium is reproduced by the leather and the material becomes a thing of beauty and decoration in itself.

Crumpled Screen
Design François Azambourg
Box calf and young bull nubuck glued onto crumpled aluminium sheet
H.2020 x W.3142
Undulating Armchair
Design François Azambourg
Calf glued onto wire mesh
Undulating edges
Calfskin tape on a metallic structure
Adjustable armrests in vegetable tanned cow leather
H.650 x W.605 x D.800

puce THEME 5 – SHAPE-MEMORY LEATHER : Animal As Object

‘One animal per object’ could sum up the formula behind the creation of this unique item. Whereas traditionally leather objects were made by assembling a number of skins, these can be made with just one. The skin is laid out then scanned in order to obtain a digital negative on which it is then applied. It is then coated in resin. The resulting shape is as unusual as the skin that had been used to make it. It uses the natural shape of the animal to create a household object (dish, bowl, table decoration, etc.) without any wastage.

Animal As Object
Design François Azambourg
Alligator and composite
H.120 x W.940 x D.180

puce THEME 6 – TAUT LEATHER: Striding High Table, Low Goastskin Table, Parchment Chair

Leather is stretched, sewn or stapled to wooden structures inspired by scale models, producing items that are extremely light and functional. This procedure can be carried out with fine leather or parchment. Parchment is produced from the skins of goats, lambs and even calves. The skins are stripped of their wool or hair and fat and the last traces of flesh are removed. They are then dipped in a lime bath and allowed to dry. When wet, parchment is stretchy and flexible, getting harder as it dries. It is translucent and very strong, becoming the skin to the skeleton it covers, and to which it gives a permanent shape. For the high and low tables, the parchment and shorthair skins are sewn, stapled and stretched by dampening them. For the low table, the finished goatskins are sewn together then stapled onto the structure.

Striding High Table
Design François Azambourg
Stitched “short-hair” parchment stretched over a plywood structure
H.750 x W.2000 x D.1000
Low Goatskin Table
Design François Azambourg
Stitched goats leather stretched over a plywood structure
H.308 x W.786 x. D.585
Parchment Chair
Design François Azambourg
Stapled parchment stretched over a plywood structure
H.814 x W.360 x D.490

puce THEME 7 – ACOUSTIC LEATHER: Leather Radio

This surprising object highlights the acoustic quality of leather. Like the paper used to make speakers, parchment is a very good reproducer of sounds. This radio makes the most of both the aesthetic and technical qualities of parchment. The casing is made from brass coated in goatskin. The techno-retro design is particularly seductive and opens up a whole range of potential applications for parchment.

Leather Radio
Design François Azambourg
Sheathed goat leather on a brass structure
Speaker membrane in short-hair parchment
Radio receiver
H.211 x W.205

puce THEME 8 – STRUCTURAL LEATHER: Leather Air Chair

This armchair plays with convention and takes leather into areas where normally plastic is king. Somewhere between the kudos of the Club armchair and the iconic look of the inflatable chairs that were all the rage in the Sixties, this armchair opens up another avenue for leather. Air is used as the weight-bearing material and the leather provides the structure. In this model, internal air cushions (balloons) maintain the volume of the leather. This type of semi-finished product is an example of what is possible by French Tanners and Dressers, as part of this operation.

Leather Air Chair
Design François Azambourg
Calf and PVC inflatable structure
H.1750 x W.1400 x D.1100

puce THEME 9 – FREESTANDING LEATHER: Wall, All-leather cushion, Double Croc

As it is easy to cut out and extremely strong, leather can create all sorts of freestanding 3D volumes. The wall and the cushion play with this property to create an innovative aesthetic effect. Applying this procedure to all types of leather offers the possibility of creating a vast range of products that can be hung, placed or spread out. Partitions, mattresses, cushions, carpets – anything is possible.

Design François Azambourg
Cut-out, buttoned goat leather
H.2000 x W.1000
All-leather cushion
Design François Azambourg
Vegetable tanned cow leather cut out
and buttoned
H.317 x W.687
Double Croc
Design François Azambourg
Cut out and buttoned Alligator
L.2500 x W.620


The lamp is made of a dipped lamb surface structured by pine stays. The tension of the wooden stays creates a motif in the leather that evokes the fluted columns of Ancient Greece. The lamp is stretched and held in place by two bands. The lamp is delivered flat.

Fluted Lamp
Design François Azambourg
Dipped lamb glued on to wooden stays
Wooden structure
H.1800 x W.870 x D.700