One of the defining qualities of natural leather is that the change it undergoes with years of use does not equate a reduction in quality but rather an addition of character, and this wearing-in actually results in a more attractive piece of material.
It occurred to Japanese designer group Nendo that they could exploit this characteristics by using tanning oil or sunscreen to place an invisible pattern on the surface of the leather. At the time of purchase, the product would appear to be plain leather, but with use and exposure to sunlight, the pattern would gradually begin to appear. As more time passed and with further exposure to sunlight, the pattern would once again disappear due to overall fading.
We wanted it to be a design that would highlight the beauty of leather over time, Oki Sato of Nendo says. After testing with a sizeable number of commercially available tanning oils, sunscreens, and combinations of both, we settled on using an overall coating of tanning oil, and on areas around the pattern we used an SPF 50 sunscreen that was coloured to match the leather using a brown makeup powder. In doing so, we were able to avoid the pattern being visible prior to exposure to sunlight due to “wet” colouration that appears when the coating is absorbed.
Featuring four different patterns, there are five types of items available: folders, book covers, card holders, containers, and stools.