Leather was probably one of the first natural materials to be used by mankind, and has been employed ever since. Throughout its history and from its simplest form as a warming hide, leather has always been used for more than clothing. It has also been applied as material for saddles and harnesses, roofs for tents and other dwellings, armour, shields and helmets.
Wittmann Möbelwerkstätten grew from a saddlery, and the firm’s understanding of leather quality and leather care has been passed down from generation to generation. So it comes as no surprise that most of today’s upholstered pieces are covered in leather.
Leather is a gift of nature with unique qualities. It is pleasant to the touch, luxuriously soft on the skin and breathes well. It ages well, and, unlike many other materials, with proper care it becomes even more beautiful with each passing year. The valuable material accentuates the quality of the craftsmanship and brings out the best in the designs. It goes without saying that here, too, Wittmann only uses the finest materials available. The leather used for the Wittmann collection comes from large hides taken from European cattle. The specially selected hides are tanned and dyed throughout in an environmentally friendly process that goes through a number of stages.
Small scars are characteristic of top quality leather. They bear witness to minor injuries on the pastures or in the cowshed. While they are quick to heal they leave permanent traces on the hide, beneath the hair. Other natural influences leave irregularities on the skin: the neck and stomach of a well-fed animal develop wrinkles which are also visible in the finished leather. Connoisseurs value these small marks as a sign of quality, since the best upholstery leather is taken from the grain layer.
Only the grain layer has the elasticity and durability to withstand the demands placed on a much loved and well-used piece of furniture. The open pore structure allows carefully worked leather to absorb moisture and warmth, making sitting a pleasant sensation even in the hot summer months. And this wonderful material feels agreeably warm in winter. This is why makers of quality upholstery leather deliberately preserve its natural structure.
The material is prepared in different ways according to the piece’s intended use. Most hides are dyed through in vats. However, pigmented and semi-aniline leather tends to be best suited to architectural furnishings and other uses that involve heavy wear and tear. Their great advantage is special surface finishing which provide better protection, ease of care and lightfastness. Aniline leather is not surface coated after dyeing, and the open-pore grain is largely preserved. Choosing the right leather depends on the intended use of the piece, each of the varieties having its own unique qualities. Wittmann Möbelwerkstätten offers seven different types of leather: Nappa and Toro are pigmented leathers, Sioux is semianiline, and Genuin and Premium are aniline leathers. Also an aniline leather is Nubuk, which is buffed to produce a velvet-like surface. 60 different colours are available.
A piece of leather furniture lives with its owners, adapts and perhaps develops wrinkles of its own as it provides decades of loyal service. The patina that forms over the years is something to treasure as a chronicle of moments shared and a reflection of the mutability of life that is nevertheless always beautiful and unique.
Leather covers must be cared for to ensure their beauty does not fade. The Wittmann care manual that comes with your furniture shows you exactly what to look out for. Further information about the care of leather you can find here. We also recommend that you use the professional Wittmann leather care kit.You can also have your genuine Wittmann re-upholstered at any time – even after decades.