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Five reasons to consider cork in interior design

2016-11 i Five reasons to consider cork in interior design

Cork may be best known for its history with wine and the office pinboard, but in reality, it is an incredibly green and versatile product when applied to interiors. Today, many design projects are directed by ethical and sustainable initiatives and architects and designers are choosing cork as a leading building and interiors material. Aesthetically cork, like hardwood timber floors, has a raw and timeless appeal as it is sourced from nature itself. No piece is the same, offering a multitude of grain, texture and colour finishes.


Seriously Renewable

Cork’s innate renewability is considered its finest feature as it can be harvested from the outer bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber) without causing harm and leaving the tree to regenerate. Cork trees, generally found in Mediterranean countries, are slow growing and can live up to 250 years with the harvesting cycle typically occurring every nine years. Initially, the tree needs to mature for approximately 25 years to allow the trees’ cellular structure to mature which produces the thermal and acoustic properties of cork.


Health Benefits

Cork’s naturally anti-microbial attributes combat mould and its anti-static surface eliminates dust and toxin absorption, making it ideal for people with allergies and a material that contributes to cleaner air space. Its soft surface also results in less pressure on people with knee problems or seniors looking for absorption support under their feet.


Sustainably Certified

Cork can earn points toward Green Star and LEED certification for its renewable and biodegradable properties. According to the World Wildlife Federation, a cork tree that has its bark removed every nine years will absorb up to five times as much CO2 than a similar tree that is left idle.


Durability and Longevity

Cork has been known to last up to 50 years when used in interiors thanks to its resilience to pressure, which makes it very suitable for high traffic areas such as flooring in hallways or on kitchen counter tops. Cork is used extensively as a backing to many other materials for its compressive strength and as a backing to many other materials for its acoustic and thermal attributes.


Multiple Uses

Beyond flooring, benches and wall coverings, cork furniture and upholstery are gaining momentum in interior design. Cork can be ground and shaved to be applied to soft furnishings while its natural grain can be tinted and stained to develop a multitude of pattern and colour finishes. Cork is waterproof and fire retardant, so application in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries is quite popular from flooring to cabinetry and bench tops. Its insulating qualities allow it to absorb and retain heat while it is applied to many commercial buildings for its acoustic properties. Like many natural materials that have been around for centuries, the design industry can expect the continuing resurgence of cork for its environmental benefits and flexible application opportunities in interiors.