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Vegan leather, beyond beLEAF™

November 1st, 2019 / By: / Swatches

Leather made from leaves has the feel and texture of traditional leather while offering an environmentally sustainable option. Photos: Ricardo Perini.

A material that looks and feels like leather is actually made from leaves. Natural and renewable, beLEAFis the creation of Nova Kaeru, a Brazilian company dedicated to developing ethical, sustainable and innovative products. The company’s process, after five years of research, transforms biological materials into long-lasting luxury products. 

BeLEAF is made from leaves that are collected in sustainable areas and planted together with reforestation farms. The material looks and feels like bovine leather, but is made without the environmental impacts; in fact, the production process actually cleans the environment. That’s because the CO2 emission of the manufacturing process is offset by the carbon absorption of the planting and leaf growth.

The vegan material is made onsite at Nova Kaeru, which runs the only organic tannery in the world. The leaf mat is tanned but is not mixed with other fibers, so it maintains its natural look, texture and shape. The resulting “leather” can be dyed different colors, but the leaf’s veins remain visible in the product’s texture. 

Furf Design Studio recently incorporated beLEAF leather into a collection of stools. The Curitiba, Brazil-based designers combined the industrial and artisanal by using sturdy frames manufactured from recycled steel with handmade welding and finishing. Each stool is upholstered with the leaf leather. For more details, visit www.novakaeru.com.br.