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Move over timber, there is a new kid on the block. Introducing the cork age, one of the most sustainable materials out there. Given its remarkable adaptability and durability, cork is quickly becoming the new wundermaterial. DECO investigates its many uses.

The cork tree produces cork for harvest every nine years, growing naturally in massive groups and unlike timber, it is never harmed or chopped down. It is 100% natural, recyclable and harvested safely off the Cork Oak tree.

For a decor insight, DECO spoke to Joaquim Sá, managing director of Amorim Cork South Africa which holds the amazing Corkcomfort Range by Wicanders. ELLE Decoration got the lowdown from Joaquim on the ways in which cork can be implemented in the building of our living and working spaces.

 

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1) INSULATION

Insulation is becoming a mandatory part in building in South Africa. In 2011 major changes were made to the South African Building Regulations regarding thermal insulation. In short it is compulsory now for all homes to have insulation.

Insulation in buildings can be placed in the floor, walls and most importantly ceiling space of your home. This stops the naturally generated body warmth from escaping. Cork acts as great insulation and trumps the standard foam insulation as it holds no chemicals or unwanted fiber pollution.

The actual cells that make up cork resemble that of honeycomb where there is gas in between each cell, making them small sound and heat insulators as well as natural shock absorbents.

 

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remodelista.com

2) FLOORING

Cork floors are becoming increasingly popular for their sustainable quality. Cork can be dyed and treated all naturally to create some breathtaking effects and styles that would cast aside the stereotypical ideas of what can be achieved with this traditional material.

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dezeen.com

Screeded concrete floors are extremely on-trend, as they offer clean and minimalistic flooring. The variety of finishes you can get with concrete flooring is endless, but its coldness often means it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as cork.

Cork can offer all the textures and colours of concrete with added comfort and sound resistance. By using cork flooring you can reduce up to 53% of your walking sound factor. This is great for houses with more than one level as well as office spaces or apartments.

Cork works as a thermal barrier preventing energy from dissipating to the floor slab, resulting in optimal and comfortable floor temperature all year round. – Joaquim Sá, Managing Director of Amorim Cork South Africa

To top it off, cork floors are said to be one of the best for walking comfort. Due to its shock absorption, giving it the quality of memory-foam, it allows movement with added spring and soft impact. Its durability and water resistance allows for easy cleaning and long-lasting qualities.

Cork gives more body wellness. It is softer than wood and harder than carpets; therefore it decreases tensions and fatigue, and reduces walking effort. – Joaquim Sá, Managing Director of Amorim Cork South Africa.

 

3) WALL CLADDING

Wicanders Cork Comfort Range offers an incredible product called Dekwall, which creates a warm and natural feel, lining the actual wall itself. No need to spend days picking out paint colours; it comes in a variety of shades from natural light to dark browns and greys.

Perfect to line the walls of a kitchen nook or reading corner, it gives off a warmer feel than concrete, tile or timber, as well as giving support and comfort. Cork walls can also be extremely useful in an office environment or even a child’s play room as it is a great barrier for sound travel, with the added benefit of a giant pin board for important notes or additional decoration.

So there you have it – wall to floor cork. Giving you the warmth, comfort and durability you deserve, and it’s guilt free. Thinking of re-surfacing your floors at home or re-painting/papering your walls? Go for cork and reap the benefits of this natural and extremely sustainable material.


FIND OUT MORE:

Wicanders has done some amazing things with cork, with lots more to come. Their Corktech range has produced a brand new hydro-cork, the first low thickness floating product. It can be laid on any existing flooring, and is extremely easy to install, making renovations a breeze.

Watch the video to have a look for yourself.

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ELLE Decoration Green Issue coverThe Green Issue edition of ELLE Decoration South Africa is on the shelf of your nearest magazine retailer now. Packed with sustainably stylish interiors, it’s full of all your favourite features and decor tips plus the green spaces of Patrizia Moroso and Pietro Russo. Pick up your copy today – across South Africa wherever magazines are sold – and tell us what you think on Twitter @ELLE_Deco, sharing your #GreenIssue #DECOselfie.


LIKED THIS? Then take a look at our spring mood boards for more on-trend inspiration.


Charne Mingo ELLE DEcorationDECO intern Charné Mingo is an aspiring street and fashion photographer, with a background in TV, set design and writing. She is a free-spirited explorer, with a passion for travel and meeting people from all walks of life. She finds peace in cooking, exhilaration in cycling, solace in reading and absolute bliss in walking her dogs whilst listening to music. Follow Charné on Instagram @charne_mingo.