The Designer's Material of the Year: Cork

Last year at ICCF the material du jour was felt; while its presence is still being, well, felt, this year the stuff that dreams are made of is cork. And not just thin sheets of cork but big honking blocks of the stuff. It is post-industrial recycled cork (what is left after the wine corks are cut out), ground up and compressed with a polyurethane binder. The importers, Ecosupply, have been using Suberra Cork for kitchen counters for years.

We know that cork is a renewable resource, but it is also healthier. According to Suberra:

Whereas wood gets its defining properties from a high cellulose content, it is largely suberin that characterizes cork. Suberin is impermeable to water and air.In a microbe lab test, Suberra cork received the highest (superior) rating for resistance to contamination by E.coli, salmonella and listeria.

More at Suberra

Christian Brown Design showed a side chair using thick blocks of cork. It was very comfortable.

Patricia Naves of Oiti mixes Scandinavian design with her native Brazil, and designs products that she says "reflect my view toward things the idea that design and architecture are tools to make life better, not be committed to trends or fashion fevers"

More at Oiti

In the Designboom mart, Tiago sa da Costa of Portugal mixes cork with flatpack design to make very attractive bowls and lampshades. More at his website

Even TreeHugger Petz gets into the game with her lovely bulletin boards.

More at Poko Design

More cork in TreeHugger:
TreeHugger Picks: Cork Does It All
Making High-Tech Aircraft Parts with... Cork
Put a (Wine) Cork in it!
Cork Mosaic Tiles

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Tags: Cork | Countertops | Furniture | ICFF/ New York Design Week