Igualada is a handsome town situated 65 kms west of Barcelona. In the late 1900s, it experienced an economic boom driven by the textile industry, with many factories setting up here to take advantage the clean water supplied by the River Anoia and one of the first train lines in Catalunya. Igualada was the first town in Spain to have an industrial leather production facility, supplying fine, treated leather to the rest of Europe.
The young design studio Toru, founded by Jordi Ribaudi in 2015, draws on this heritage, and in fact has it HQ in a restored 19th century leather factory underneath the arches in the old part of town.
As part of the recent Dubai Design Week, Toru, in partnership with BD Barcelona, previewed a micro-range of minimalist, sculptural chairs handcrafted in Igualada by local leather artisans.
‘Pony’ is a stool that, fittingly, has been inspired by a horse saddle, one Igualada’s mainstay products. The leather is treated with natural wax and comes in various colours and the framework made of steel bathed in grey epoxy resin.
My favourite however is ‘Babu’, which reminds me of an oversized Moroccan slipper, or, as the designers say “ grand voyages made by dessert tribes.” It is cut from a single piece of leather, which lends its aerodynamic dimensions, and the triangular shaped cushion is available in both organic cotton and velvet.