Cork

Cork

Cork is a vegetable coating which grows on the cortex of wooden plants, as a skin. The cork oak is an ancient tree, an almost mystical entity to the Egyptians and the Babylonians, the first populations who adopted it to decorate and isolate. It grows slowly, year after year, preserving the cortex of the Mediterranean trees.

 Its physical features are unique: it has matchless resistance and isolation properties, it’s light, elastic and porous.

Around 40 million cells form a single cubic centimeter, making the cork a shield for the tree and a ductile, renewable and recyclable material for humans.

 

A long journey

Traditions handed down through generations

The cork’s journey starts from the western Mediterranean coasts, between Europe and Northern Africa, where the climate is mild and hospitable. The center of gravity of its growth area might be located in Sardinia, in the Tirreno’s heart, where the cork forests have been nurturing centuries of artisanal traditions.

But the main world’s cork producer is Portugal, which in its Montado woods has an entire living ecosystem focused on cork.

The decortication is made every 10 years, in order to give the cork enough time to grow sustainably and at the top of its qualities.

From decortication to design

The cork cortex has many, various, possible uses. Worldwide the main one is still the bottle cap: cork guarantees the best preservation for valuable wines. But its isolation properties make the material an excellent solution for domestic coatings capable to create warm, natural and cozy livings.

Due to its ductility and its esthetical, tactile qualities, it perfectly fits in a number of design applications.

Cork can be cooked, carved and compacted with glues in order to obtain surfaces of any consistency; its few processing wastes can be reused to generate the energy necessary to feed its own production cycle.

Nowadays, the modern research is discovering new solutions to process the cork in even more sustainable ways.