Simply Cork: The Use Of Cork In Furniture
Under the bark of the Quercus suber, there lies an old material, modern for its sustainable value: cork.
Cork is extracted every nine years under the bark of the Cork Oak. The process of extraction is done manually without any damaging to the tree which grows very well in South West Europe and Northwest Africa and it`s a very important tree for biodiversity being home of various endangered species. More on this Rspb link
Cork is a renewable resource, recyclable, non-toxic and durable with excellent physical and mechanical qualities. Amazingly, the cork is capable of being compressed to about half its width without losing any flexibility and it is the only solid that can be compressed in one dimension without increasing in another dimension. How cool is that! Cork is impermeable, very elastic and fire resistant.
I am sure you are aware of cork flooring, and you might have seen a couple of cork chairs around. I must admit despite knowing how green is cork, I was not very impressed by the design and for me cork was only good for wine stoppers, which are becoming a rarity, by the way.
Until some time ago I discovered the design studio Corque, and so my search for more modern cork products started again and I ended up in Portugal. No surprise as 50% of the worldwide production of cork comes from Portugal.
A team of prestigious Portuguese designers, under the brand name Corque develop “Design Living Objects”. I like the minimal and yet surprising designs coming out of this company. I love the Lagarta Black modular stools made directly from a block of agglomerated expanded cork, finished with a water-based invisible varnish. Vinco is a sophisticated chair created by “creases” in a cork flat board supported by a polished steel structure.
Another great Portuguese company I found is Materia. Lasca is like a polished peeble from a riverbed. This softly rounded form is a side table as well as a footstool made from agglomerated cork and a layer of mdf as support table. But what I love most from their collection of practical stylish accessories are two toys: Bote, the floating boat and Rufo, the drums.
Portugal is one of my favourite holiday destination – I said Portugal not Algarve!!! – so this summer between a favoulous choco frito and a pastry from Sintra, let`s see if I manage to visit one of these companies and bring them on board in our store!