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. Exploiting this characteristics, nendo realized a collection of leather products 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.


Conceived for the Tanner’s Council of Japan, Suntan-Pattern was developed to highlight the beauty of leather over time.  After testing with a sizeable number of commercially available tanning oils, sunscreens, and combinations of both, nendo settled on using an overall coating of tanning oil, and on areas around the pattern an SPF 50 sunscreen that was coloured to match the leather using a brown makeup powder. In doing so, they 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, the collection includes five types of items: folders, book covers, card holders, containers, and stools.

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all images © AKIHIRO YOSHIDA