Ergonomic, durable and aesthetically pleasing – those are the three design principles of UK furniture designer Tortie Hoare. To furniture designer I think I’ll add tanner, craftsman, purist and forward-thinking tech wiz. Because while Hoare’s work may well satisfy those aforementioned principles, she arrived at her environmentally conscious method of furniture-making through a remarkable R+D process, one that bridges new technology with traditional craftsmanship.
“This year,” Hoare said, “I have researched ways of creating structural 3D shapes that are environmentally conscious and an alternative to using plastic or resin. Through my research I came across the art of boiling leather.” Hoare goes on to explain how “the designs themselves have been dictated by the process of shaping and taming the leather.” (Boiling the leather in water makes it rigid.)
Absolutely every single piece of Tortie Hoare’s furniture is hand-made by her, and she readily includes what other leather workers might consider flaws, like “marks where the cow has scratched against a bush.”