How to use Cork in your interior design scheme

Pinterest : Satoshi Nakamura “Naksat”

The word ‘cork’ used to conjure up two feelings for me, happiness at the fabulous pop of a champagne bottle and revulsion at the slimy hideousness of a unloved bathroom floor! Although there have been some products reinventing the material itself, they’ve generally been focused on alcohol consumption and bathing. I do like the products below found on Not On The High Street for example, especially the block bath stool 🙂

Cork products on NOTHS by Impulse Purchase, Authentics and TheLittleBoysRoom

Cork has been showcased as one to watch in the ‘materials’ sections of design shows I’ve visited for a few years now, plus it’s also been championed for having great eco credentials. It’s a sustainable product, with trees naturally shedding their cork bark approximately every ten years, it’s free of chemicals, light-weight, gives good thermal insulation, the forests provide natural habitats for many animals, it can be moulded and shaped – what’s not to like? Design companies other than just flooring manufacturers have therefore explored its use in different ways, such as the brilliant tent design below.

Portugese design company Dideia’s cork tent

As a result I’ve been looking forward to see it used in the design of more interior products such as lighting, seating or decorative features for some time and I wasn’t disappointed at LDF2012. Here are my Cork Spots….

At Design Junction as part of the Tramshed exhibition, designer Benjamin Hubert had a wonderfully material focused exhibition of products, where is was great to see the relationship between products and their original state. The light below was suspended above a square of cork as if it had simply designed itself from the block and floated up into mid air.

Benjamin Hubert Cork light

Feel free to slap my hand for not noting down the design company responsible for these cork bound notepads:

Design Junction Cork bound books

Also at Design Junction were displayed these unusual vases / decanters called Element Vessels by Vitamin, whose designs I’ve liked ever since interviewing them at 100%. They’d played with the use of different materials, some recycled such as the crystal, some newly fired ceramic and also the very easily sculpted cork. All very eclectic but it worked, I think, quite memorable for the right reasons though I’d have liked a more practical wider neck – not enough room in the test tube to decant wine or display flowers!

Design Junction 2012 Vitamin vases

No surprise that the marvellously unconventional Designersblock show had a cork stool in it’s rawest form. This is what the cork looks like when it peels naturally from the tree

Designersblock Cork stool by Stephen Hsaio

Loved this ‘soft’ cork tile shown by Scin Surfaces & Materials and designed for use in furniture, on walls or headboards etc, very light and sound absorbing. They’re made from cork shavings so couldn’t be more environmentally friendly. Great product!

Scin Surfaces & Materials Soft Cork tile

Decorex isn’t designed to be a show featuring cutting edge materials, it’s a showcase for luxury and all things beautiful, so I was super impressed to see these cork stools specially commissioned for one of the seating areas. Excellent choice to use a raw material amidst such finery 🙂

Decorex 2012 Cork stools

What a mixture eh? There wasn’t a deluge of cork, it was used sparingly and in very different ways but I’d definitely say look out for a lot more of it in 2013.


Addendum! One of our Facebook followers just posted a rather magnificent image of some cork artwork which I though I’d add to the post and share 🙂

Cork artwork – BIG style!

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