New Applications

In recent years, architects, designers and decorators have regained interest in natural materials, as is the case of cork products. Among the many interior decorating products available with different textures, tones and colours; cork can help create original ambiences for many different purposes. The use of cork in interior decorating has increased its popularity for both professional applications and do-it-yourself. The modern systems of application (gluing, rolls, mounts etc.) make do-it-yourself installation even easier. In the context of the aforementioned Design for Sustainability and Eco-Design, some Portuguese designers have produced very interesting designs using this distinctly Portuguese material for objects of everyday use.

Puf-fup by Ana Mestre

These include the puf-fup by Ana Mestre, the Bookcase by Miguel Arruda, the Corque Chair by Pedro Silva Dias and the memória desTerra by Rui Pedro Freire.

In a recent Design competition called "Design Cork for future, innovation and sustainability" 37 original pieces were presented. See the article on the competition and exhibition and the website in www.designcork.com/ .

Aya Koike, a Japanese designer, also made a strong bet on cork, creating a cork sofa. Sofa Brick – adjustable to several environments and situations – is the suggestion you can find at www.ayakoike.com/ .

Daniel Michalik is an American furniture designer who also chose cork as his main material. The bet is essentially on chairs and benches. You can see these at www.danielmichalik.com.

Also notable is the new car seat with a base made from cork that makes it three times lighter and half the volume of traditional seats. This innovative prototype, entirely made in Portugal by the company Acecia, has already captivated the powerful automotive parts industry and the first cars equipped with this seat are due to come onto the market in 2008.

Finally, a new product has been studied for cleaning/removal of dirt and sediment on materials exposed to environmental pollution, based on spraying organic particles obtained as waste from the cork industry. New applications envisaged therefore include the cleaning of monuments and façades, which might become an important field for the use of cork products in the building industry.

Interviews with other Designers and Artists