Best in class: Put a cork in it

The super-lightweight, sound-absorbant material is having a renaissance

Installation of Corks. Courtesy of Kasmin. Photo by Diego Flores

Installation of Corks. Courtesy of Kasmin. Photo by Diego Flores

 

Cork, the super-lightweight, sound-absorbent, heat-retentive material is having a renaissance. It is fast growing and sustainable, harvested only once every nine years from the bark of the oak tree Quercus suber. London-based Nimtim Architects has used the material really creatively in this project where you can see it on internal walls as well as exteriors, dampening down sound and offering insulation into the bargain. Devon-based Mike Ewye has supplied private clients in Ireland and sells two types in varying densities. A pack boards that will cover about 7.5sq m costs about €54 for its standard insulation board and €125 for its façade board, ex VAT and delivery. nimtim.co.uk; mikewye.co.uk

Nimtim Architects
Nimtim Architects

Colour options

If wall-to-wall cork is too much of a 1970s throwback then consider Havwoods new 3D cork collection where you can alter the colour and the way the cork is laid out to create a range of stunning textures and visual effects that offer some insulation and sound dampening. Its collection is stain and water resistant and comes in a choice of three different shapes including the Giza pyramidical form, pictured, and also washed white, natural cork or ash grey colour options. It costs from about €259 per sq m and can be purchased online direct from the firm’s UK-base. Shipping is an additional €57. havwoods.co.uk

Havwoods
Havwoods

Table lamp

Copenhagen-based New Works launched a cork pendant light about five years ago and this year adds a table lamp and wall light to the range that will be dropping in stores in about six weeks. The new designs, by Monique Consentino, are available to order through Ranelagh-based CA Design. The wall light costs about €299 each, while the table lamp is about €399. newworks.dk; cadesign.ie

CA Design
CA Design

Velvety texture

Designer Jasper Morrison loves the velvety texture of cork and has been working with the material since at least 2004 when he launched a series of stools for Vitra. A decade later he presented chairs in a Trafalgar Square installation called Home of a Pigeon Fancier, that featured at London Design Festival. He has now teamed up with Kasmin in New York, known for exhibiting pop-art legends like Robert Indiana and photographer David LaChapelle, to show a whole suite of cork furniture and fixtures, from a console table, to a chaise longue, really a lounger and footstool, shelving units and a plethora of tables from a side table to a completely cork shaped model. Prices range from about €5,390 to €53,900. His armchairs, in editions of 16 and costing about €19,763 ex delivery and taxes, are proving particularly popular. kasmingallery.com

Jasper Morrisson. Photograph: Diego Flores and Christopher Stach
Installation of Corks. Courtesy of Kasmin. Photo by Diego Flores

Sliding doors

These Kirkenes sliding doors can be used to front wardrobes or as smart storage in a hall or a throughway. Each door features four panels of cork and the material will work well in a room where you watch movies or listen to music as it naturally dims down sound. A pair, 200cm by 201cm, costs €415 from Ikea while four cork panels for the sliding door frame cost €120. Another option is Sammanhang, a cabinet that could be used for cocktails or in the bathroom. The inside is lined in glass foil with glass shelving, and is 115cm high, minus its legs, which are 66cm long. Ikea also sells a range of very covetable decorative objects and trinket boxes in cork. Ikea.com/ie/

Ikea Kirkenes
Ikea Kirkenes

Cork flooring

Cork flooring is back, with business up 30 per cent at Natura Cork Flooring, a firm that offers a range of options that includes a 4mm dense sheet, 60cm by 30cm, that works well with underfloor heating, from €45 per sq m, as well as larger 90cm by 60cm sheets in 5mm thick for regular floors, also from €45. You can mix the various textures on offer or have something cut to specific sizes or shapes, herringbone, for example is proving popular, says owner Barry Costello. But its real point of difference is the option of coloured cork flooring for those of us that find the whole idea just a bit too brown. Costello uses water-based acrylic paints that come in a slew of Ral colours and are finished with a sealant that can be matte, semi-matte or with a sheen. Prices listed are ex VAT. naturacorkflooring.ie

Natura Cork Flooring
Natura Cork Flooring

Floating floor solution

An extremely efficient natural sound absorber, and recently launched by Portuguese company Amorim, Wise cork flooring offers natural thermal insulation and feels great underfoot. It is a floating flooring solution, that clicks together and is waterproof so can be used throughout the home to create a cohesive sense of flow. It is harvested by hand from the bark of the cork oak, a slow growing tree from the Mediterranean basin that can live for up to 200 years with lengthy times between harvests allowing the tree to regenerate. Exclusively distributed in Ireland by Contract Flooring Supplies it is available in 20 different finishes ranging from traditional cork to creams and dark greys, and 36 wood finishes. Prices start from €55 per sq m. contractflooring.ie; amorimflooring.com

Contract Flooring
Contract Flooring

Cork accent

Add a fashionable cork accent to tabletops. Not the lilting tone of Ireland’s second capital but these practical pieces that add a maritime flavour to mealtimes. The Ocean collection from T&G includes a whale pot stand, €12.95, and a fish trivet, €11.95, both available at Arnotts. arnotts.ie

Arnotts
Arnotts

Storage jars

This Luno is one of a range of storage jars made from borosilicate glass that come with a gorgeously round cork lid. The 16cm-high container was designed by Martin Jakobsen in 2012 for Semiramis and costs €32, ex delivery. Each vessel can take a volume of 625ml and you could use them for breakfast cereals or pasta. jakobsendesign.com

Luno Martin Jacobsen
Luno Martin Jacobsen
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