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PAST TO PRESENT Beauty is clearly worth paying for, as in the case of Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s spectacular restoration of a medieval castle in Italy, with its antique French armchairs upholstered in appliquéd leather. This is an unashamed throwback to an age of romanticism when leather in the home first came into its own. But projects like this are few and far between, as leather is now very much seen as a 21st-century material. Technological advancements in the leather industry, such as laser-cutting and embossing, now allow the consumer to recreate any effect and pattern they want to achieve. “There has been a high demand in recent years for geometrically embossed hides, which give the impression of woven leather as well as the more exotic types such as real shagreen, or stingray leather.” Says Saeed Khalique of Alma: Far from having to be wall-to-wall, can be at