The Barcelona Chair, In-Depth [Part 1]: Barcelona Leather

A Google™ search indicates that  is  the foremost site for high end Barcelona design and furniture at wholesale prices. “This West coast Internet pioneer features retro, modern, and post-modern furnishings at rock bottom prices. Gibraltar offers an exceptional array of wholesale, architectural, modern, high quality items at factory direct discount prices. Gibraltar Furniture is one of the leaders in the world of Internet modern architectural products. Gibraltar sells furniture manufactured in Italy, Asia, and the USA and all sales are tax free (except for orders within CA).”

Barcelona Sofa


The Barcelona chair cushions are made of leather. The original was made from pig skin, but we use only 100% imported high quality Italian leather for all of releases. Contemporary manufacturers have explored the length and breath of possibility in this regard, producing Barcelona style chairs of every conceivable type of leather – some with notably striking results.

Leather is a versatile and surprisingly diverse material. Leathers can vary tremendously: Consider that a raw hide can be thin or thick, supple or brittle; it can be scared or clean grained. Grain might be regular or irregular, deep or barely visible. And all of this variation exists even before the hide has been treated, scraped, dyed, printed, coated, cut and sewn.

The characteristics of the leather upholstery on your Barcelona Chair will to large degree define the apparent quality of the whole item.

In selecting leather an expert would look several characteristics. A soft and supple ‘hand’: A technical term which really just means – how good it feels on your hand; and a texture that they like. However texture is really quite a subjective and therefore personal choice.

Leath options


Top grain leather refers to the epidermis of a hide. That top layer that is both the strongest, most durable and the most characteristic. To be used as top grain leather, hides must have a pleasing regularity of appearance, without too many scars. All high quality manufacturers of leather upholstery will use top grain leather.

Corrected leather or Embossed leather has been stamped to apply an even texture, simulating the grain of leather, but without the naturally uneven markings of uncorrected leathers (removes wrinkles, bites and scars). This allows leathers with too many markings to be corrected, making them more appealing , and also addresses a growing market for uniformity and consistency. Corrected leathers are often but not always lower in price than uncorrected leathers.

Pigmented leathers are aniline dyed hides that includes a pigmented topcoat. The topcoat increases the leather’s durability and color consistency, but also increases the stiffness very slightly. People who like their leather furniture uniform and perfect as well as people who want more protection will enjoy this type of leather.

Some prefer more durable leather, one with a pigment and clear protecting coating. These can be almost invisible to the eye, but do feel slightly different to the hand.

Those in search of a less expensive variation might choose corrected leather. Corrected leathers are slightly lower quality in terms of regularity of grain and markings, and as such are slightly ‘exfoliated’ to remove the very top layer of the epidermis. They are then mechanically embossed with the grain pattern, before being treated with pigment and protective coating. These are sometimes still referred to as top grain leathers, although this term is somewhat inaccurate as some of the ‘top grain’ has in fact been removed.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our “Deluxe” program. Colors include Bright White, Camel, Chocolate, Ivory, Black, Red and Saddle Tan.


Semi-Aniline leathers are also colored by aniline dyes. As such they are also noted for their natural grain and softness. However semi-aniline leathers are treated with a clear sealant topcoat which has a slight sheen.

This protective layer is thin enough that it does not obscure the grain, but serves to afford additional protection and color consistency. Semi-anilines are sometimes considered to be the best choice as they offer some degree of protection while still retaining the softness and natural character and beauty of the leather.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our “Primo” program. Colors include Bordeaux, Cognac, Cappuccino, Golden Tan, Hunter Green, Black, Navy Blue, Parchment, Tangerine, and Wasabi.


Aniline leathers are those top grain leathers colored solely by aniline dyes. Aniline dyes are used quite commonly, on all types of leather. These chromium based dies are heated to ensure better penetration into the leather, and to help the dye bond to the cellular structure of the hide.

These transparent dyes preserve the subtle depth of translucence in the leather. Used without surface treatments of pigment and protective coating, aniline dyed leathers are the most natural and ‘naked’ and are therefore favored by leather lovers and purists the world over. No two aniline leathers are identical; each hide has its own characteristics.

Aniline leathers are highly prized both for their luxurious softness and rich color. Because Aniline dyes do not coat the surface of the leather, they do leave it somewhat less protected than other dyes and treatments.

Knoll uses untreated, top grain leather for its Barcelona Chairs. These hides are very high quality, having few natural imperfections, and as such can be used untreated, (without layers of pigment or clear coat protection). The difficulty with untreated leathers is that they fade easily, (more so than those with pigmented protective layers) and being quite porous they stain very easily.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our “Exquisíte” program. Colors include Chocolate, Cranberry, Black, Tofee, White and Whiskey.

Gibraltar is based in Beverly Hills California and can be found on the web at This firm has been in operation for over 50 years, and is an insider secret weapon for blue chip merchandise at warehouse prices. Yahoo reports that Gibraltar Furniture has “The best prices, models, and service of any site on the internet. This Beverly Hills 90210 store ( is nirvana for people who want Bauhaus, art deco, modern, mid century, or designer furniture at wholesale prices.”

All of our products are reproductions and are not licensed items. Instead they are inspired by by the designer. Gibraltar Furniture offers architectural office and home furniture at wholesale prices. We feature discount major brand, world famous designer leather/metal/wood furnishings & seating factory direct to you! Toll free: 800-416-363.

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