THE ART OF LEATHER
When Madrid-based journalist Carolina Sánchez de Movellán and her lawyer husband Carlos Ortiz de Zúñiga were presented with an opportunity to invest in a cattle ranch in the jungle of the remote Chaco region of Paraguay, they couldn’t resist. But what they discovered there was that the people of this region were exceptional leatherworkers, with skills handed down through generations.
In 2003, Carolina and Carlos left their professions to launch Sol & Luna, a purveyor of fine-leather goods, in Madrid. They started small but now employ some 50 workers; most of the people in the local community near the ranch are involved with the production process one way or another. “We prepare the leather, dye it and either cover items that we have designed or look for pieces that can be covered,” says Carolina. “The focus is on using wood and leather from the Chaco region to form a production line of sustainable goods.”
Starting with simple items such as salt and pepper grinders, flasks, trays and ice buckets, the collection has expanded to leather-covered chairs, tables, armchairs, wastepaper baskets, hangers, storage boxes and desks and has even included bicycles, a Vespa scooter and a Citroën 2CV car – covered inside and out in leather.
The Sol & Luna boutique is in the upmarket Barrio de Salamanca shopping district in Madrid, and in order to meet growing international demand, Sol & Luna’s creations are now available through retailers in Paris, London and New York, and are especially popular in northern Europe. “In colder countries people spend more time in their homes, so they really love well-made, warm leather products such as a cosy armchair,” says Carolina. “Our customers really appreciate natural materials, artisanal work and a company that has a great story.”
In October 2017, Carolina and Carlos introduced their newest collection, Home In Order – made in Spain by Spanish artisans – tapping into the idea that having a tidy home doesn’t have to mean dull and functional. “It’s our collection exclusively for the home,” says Carolina. “We started from the premise that order can be decorative too.” Sol & Luna now helps to furnish some of the world’s top hotels and restaurants, including four branches of Ibérica in London.