uniting a historic material with contemporary design
Conran Contracts enjoyed a wonderful few days in Udine, Italy after being invited to visit the factory of leather specialists Frag. A small family business run by Franco Di Fonzo and Geovanna Modonutti, leather has been in the DNA of the Frag family since the 1920’s when their relatives worked in tanneries and distributed leather tooling. Frag was created in 1989 and balances tradition with innovation, uniting a historic material with contemporary design. The result is a collection of pieces that promotes a craftsmanship that has been handed down through generations.
The company has grown to employ 35 artisan workers, each taking 5 years to train. The highest quality raw material is carefully selected and each hide is treated with experienced and passionate hands. Where Frag really come into their own as a specialist company and stamp their mark on the leather market is their work with hard leather. Taken from the back and shoulders of bulls and manipulated with techniques that few other companies have the know how to implement. These leathers both full and split grain are thick and tough, like working with cardboard.
Their unique skills have made them in high demand with leading manufacturers throughout Italy and Europe and it was fascinating to see their solutions to working with a material that is so resistant. A great many of the hands on techniques used in the workshops concentrate on stamping, sewing, cutting, sanding and painting the edges of the thick leather. Turning a problem into a feature and making a Frag product highly identifiable in this otherwise overcrowded marketplace.
Whilst they have emphasised their position as a high quality, luxury brand there are some products in their collection priced competitively to suit the Contracts market. The Lilly chair is made from the thick split grain hide and it would be hard to find a better priced chair made using such high quality Italian techniques and leather. We felt incredibly privileged to have been given such a personal insight into this company where everyone was extremely welcoming and generous towards us throughout our stay, we only wish it could have lasted longer. A huge thank you for everybody who made it possible in Italy and the UK.