Leather fit for the president

2 March 2009

As James Lang, director, states: if you walk onto a plane and find leather upholstery, the likelihood is that it came from Andrew Muirhead. This even holds true if you are the President of the United States!


Andrew Muirhead launched their new, sumptuous and luxurious leather range Arisaig, at the 100% Design event in London in September. Named after an area of outstanding beauty in the West of Scotland, Arisaig was developed to provide excellent aesthetic and tactile qualities and to deliver high performance durability specifications.

According to director James Lang, the company wanted to make a ‘softer, squishier, more buttery leather' whilst still maintaining the desired physical properties such as fire retardance and very stringent rub fastness requirements. Lang felt that in recent years leather has almost become a commodity and, thus, Arisaig was conceived to be markedly different from many of the offerings currently available.

It is aimed at the higher end interiors market and the sixteen colours selected for the range reflect this. The shades were chosen in response to feedback from clients, particularly those in the automotive sector. Thus there is an extension of the classic high end colours preferred by manufacturers such as Mercedes, Porsche and BMW which include blues, creams, and beiges. The selection of reds and burgundies on offer have also been extended.

The company describe the Arisaig range as a ‘super premium product'. The price is high, but justified by the quality of the hides used, which are very large and clean,specially selected for their high yield.


Library of Leather

Andrew Muirhead recently launched their ‘library of leather' card. Created with architects, designers and specifiers in mind, it represents the collection of leathers which will be in stock and available to order for overnight delivery in the UK for the next three years. Customers can order quantities from a single hide upwards from the warehouse located in Burnley, in the North West of England. Alongside the Arisaig collection, the library card features the Sateen, Inglestone, Lustrana, Lustrol and Metallic ranges.

While contract upholstery for nightclub and hotel interiors catered for by the Library of Leather concept is an important part of the business, Muirhead are the largest supplier of leather to the aviation industry, and 70% of their business is in flame retardant aviation leathers, hence the boast that if your seat on an aircraft is made from leather, it is probably from Andrew Muirhead.

The company have developed expertise in meeting and exceeding aviation industry standards of safety and durability, such as BS6608, Crib 5 and CAA Airworthiness. They have been supplying the leather for Airforce One - the US presidential plane - for twenty years.

Their ‘technical leathers' are also popular in a variety of other sectors. Leather wall panels for interiors are popular with designers, for which leathers need to meet public buildings safety standards. The rail industry has a different fire specification again, involving smoke density and toxicity standards.

In addition to United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited testing labs, Andrew Muirhead are the first and only company to be awarded ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard.

In fact the list of applications is endless. Other recently completed projects include 10,000 passenger places on First Great Western trains in the UK, Jurys Inn hotel, and numerous Virgin Group projects such as Virgin Atlantic, cruise liners and super yachts. 

Andrew Muirhead & Son Limited, Bridgton, Glasgow, are part of the Scottish Leather Group.

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