Design Decisions: The Rise of Eco-Leather

In the design world, every decision is purposely made, which is why Space as Art supports earth-friendly companies who pursue green initiatives and whose products are made with purpose.

Leather has long been an environmental hazard, but we’re excited to share three companies rapidly changing the textile industry. Their advanced and earth-conscious business practices inspire us to open up new creative possibilities. 


Mineral tanning and eco-dyes: Green Hides

Sustainability is at the core of Green Hide’s corporate culture. Established in 2003, they only source leathers from Italian tanneries that operate within “strict low emission mineral tanning procedures” that incorporate recycling and water purification systems. All of their leathers are manufactured under the EU’s strict environmental standards and they have achieved ISO 14001 environmental certification.

Believing that leather is a “fabric of nature,” they forged the EcoLifeTM product line, which uses advanced environmentally-conscious techniques including natural vegetable tanning recipes, water-based finishing, and is produced with fresh hides delivered weekly so as to avoid the need for salt-treatment. 

With a range of 29 colors, Green Hides EcoLifeTM is our top pick for leather textiles. Our favorite color is Seaoat because as a soft beige with a understated green tone, it is the perfect neutral that also beautifully represents the “be green” initiative.

Recycled leathers: EcoDomo

As one of the coolest and most innovate leather companies in the industry, we are big fans of EcoDomo’s initiative. Responding in 2005 to the “need for high-end ecological and renewable products,” EcoDomo rose to the challenge by creating truly sustainable architectural details from recycled and reclaimed leather. As experts in leather surfacing, they produce anything from tiles and decorative borders to interlocking planks.

With a philosophy of “seventh generation,” their environmental commitment extends past their products and into their business operations. They are “carbon neutral” and also use renewable materials like soy-ink and recycled paper. They give back a percentage of their profits to the community and strive to make decisions that positively affect the future and its seventh generation.  

The versatility of their leather panels can adorn anything from an executive suite door to the walls of a conference room. Offering 186 colors, if that doesn’t suit the job, they offer a designer’s favorite word, “custom.” 

Reduced impact: Maharam

Evolving from theatrical costumes to performance-driven commercial textiles in the ‘60s, Maharam has become an icon within the industry. The company is recognized for its “rigorous and holistic commitment to design,” along with striving to “develop products with reduced environmental impact.” 

Items that display “Reduced Environmental Impact” are reserved only for products with “measurable, documented reductions.” The company has achieved the ISO 14001 environmental certification and they even retain an independent ISO consultant to ensure that green practices are implemented. They provide four lines of environmental leathers including Greenguard Certified, Healthier Hospitals Compliant, LBC Red List Compliant, FR-Free, and PFC-Free.

Maharam is not afraid to be bold and push the status-quo, we love the diversity and unique character of each of their leathers ranging from neon-yellow to haired hides. 


Author’s note: Since the outset of “new environmentalism” in the early 2000s society as a whole has made great strides towards being environmentally responsible, but there is always more that can be done. Space As Art is making a conscious effort to reduce its environmental impact and implement green initiatives. All our designers are LEED accredited, our studio participates in our corporate park recycling program, and we love implementing green design into every project. When production comes at the cost of our planet, we choose to be green.



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