At DECO, we are amazingly good at popping corks out of bottles to celebrate brilliant design. After featuring the natural material in the trend pages of our fashion issue, we’ve decided to round up a few more of the best cork designs we have found lately. Flexible, waterproof and durable- it’s no wonder that cork is popping up in the worlds of both decor and fashion; a unique and innovative ‘Catwalk to couch’ material that designers are getting very creative with.

Coming from the Cork Oak Tree, this material is incredibly sustainable. Unlike most tress, the cork tree does not have to be cut down in order to harvest the material. Instead, only the bark is stripped off while the rest of the tress remains. These trees grow incredibly slowly and can live from 170 to 250 years, during which time harvesting of cork can be done approximately 16 times.

Swiss industrial designer Tomas Kral experiments with glass, cork and ceramics  to design simple lighting, furniture and home accessories.

Inspired by red clown noses, the Clown Nose range is made up of ceramic containers whose cork covers are attached with colourful rubber bands.

Dutch design duo Daphna Laurens came up with the fascinating Cover Collection for the ‘Untouchables’ exhibition by Dutch Invertuals. With detachable aluminum covers that can also be used as open containers, the Cover Collection was designed to make you curious about what the containers  may hold.

Designed by Spanish studio ‘Sputnik’, the Sputnik Stool & Table has removable cork tops and was inspired by the first satellite launched into space.

All the way from Iceland,  designer Guðrún Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir  created the Flétta table which can easily be transformed from a large or small workspace to a large dining table. The table has a section made of woven cork which can be used to create two separate spaces. The cork section can also become an elevated platform on which to serve dinner, while laying it down flat creates a dining table large enough to seat 10 people.

On the home front we have the CORQ Subway Tiles by designer Marco Simal. These are also available as circular tile boards and make for a great wall feature or a one-of-a-kind pin board.

For many of us, cork immediately brings to mind the stoppers used to seal wine bottles and the design studio Radice_Orlandini have come up with a chair and stool range whose design is reminiscent of the cork and wire caps used for sparkling wine. The ‘Bouchon’ chairs can be used both inside and outside, and the designers have made branding of the seats possible, creating a great opportunity for wine estates and other establishments to customsie their spaces. New on the market, this range will soon be available in South Africa through Sean Williams Contracts.

In fashion, designers have been incorporating cork in unique ways, creating garments that range from simple but still stunning, to those that are a bit more ‘out there’. Canadian fashion designer Evan Biddell presented a collection in which we toyed with cork and volume during Toronto Fashion Week 2010. And if you don’t feel quite ready for a complete cork outfit, design collective Casa Gridigi created a range of knitted cork accessories. The pieces are made using a weaving process that makes the cork look like raffia or wool.

Tomas Kral information and images sourced from www.tomaskral.ch | The Cover Collection information and images sourced from www.daphnalaurens.nl | Sputnik information and images sourced from www.estudiosputnik.com | Flétta table information and images sourced from www.gudruntheodora.com | Evan Biddell information and images sourced from www.evanbiddell.ca | Knit Cork accessories images and information sourced from www.themag.it | Bouchon information and images sourced from www.bonluxat.com |For more information on the CORQ Subway Tiles, contact marco.mothercity.gmail.com | Cork information sourced from www.sustainablematerials.com| Cork tree forest and cork board images sourced from www.cork-products.co.uk and www.mbmgulf.ae


Compiled by Chisanga Mukuka