Salvatore Sampino

R&D Laboratory Technician
Tanneries Roux

My Métier d’Excellence

I’m an R&D Laboratory Technician at Tanneries Roux, where I’m in charge of creating new types of leathers. Concretely, this means imagining new textures, types of relief and effects to push the boundaries of the conventional calfskin that Tanneries Roux generally produces. We work for LVMH Group Maisons including Louis Vuitton, Berluti, Christian Dior, FENDI and Loewe, proposing our innovations and working on special orders for them.

My background

I don’t have a degree, I joined the tanning profession a bit by chance. I really like painting and I worked as an autobody painter for a while, but I decided to change because I didn’t find it terribly inspiring. I had a chance to join Tanneries Roux 31 years ago as a colorist and I really liked the work. I’ve been with the company ever since. I became a department manager before taking up my current position in 2006.

What I love most about my métier

Innovation. I love the fact that you can find new ideas to develop new leathers each day. This is a value that we all share at LVMH and also within LVMH Métiers d’Art, which brings together exceptional factories throughout the world and of which Tanneries Roux is a part: innovating to invent the know-how and materials of tomorrow’s luxury.  And I love the material too. Leather is alive and you can do so many different things with it. Your imagination never stops, and its really gratifying to work with luxury Maisons that do such beautiful things using leather.

The most important things you need for this métier

You have to be very meticulous about caring for the leathers we have, and also show a lot of imagination. Having ideas is the heart of my métier because it’s about innovating. I get a lot of inspiration from nature, as well as other materials and the ways they’re innovating, such as transposing a rusted metal look to leather, for example. And you definitely need a good eye to recognize the colors, because customer requests are always very precise and you have to make sure the leather has exactly the desired color.

An anecdote

We were asked to recreate the mythic Russia leather for Moynat, and it was quite a challenge. This process had disappeared decades ago and to revive it we had to draw inspiration from leather that was over 200 years old and had been lying underwater in a sunken ship! It was a huge challenge that we successfully met, giving birth to a complete Moynat collection in Russia leather in 2016.