The year is 2020 and being environmentally conscious is trending, and rightfully so! The world of modern design is also very kin on this trend, with the most renowned names of the industry creating furniture collections with eco-friendly materials. Such is the case with Tom Dixon‘s newest furniture collection made of cork.
The British designer is releasing a series of furniture designs made from cork that has been charred to give it a rich, deep brown colour reminiscent of rosewood. The Cork collection features a shelf, stool and three tables, with chubby, rounded silhouettes that are designed to let the material shine.
The raw material itself is derived from the outer bark of the Quercus suber tree, commonly known as the cork oak. Today, the majority of it is used for the production of bottle stops, which are punched out of sheets of the bark. For this furniture collection, the remaining, pre-consumer waste material from this process was granulated and compressed into composite blocks.
At this stage the material was also charred, “a bit like popcorn” so it browns and expands. This means the final pieces are less susceptible to dirt, while also steering clear of an overly Scandinavian aesthetic. The material was mixed with a small amount of polyurethane resin to bind it at a ratio of 93 per cent cork to seven per cent resin.
Tom Dixon sources the material via the same Portuguese manufacturer that is also supplying cork for the 2020 Serpentine Pavilion designed by South African architecture studio Counterspace.
Thanks to its waterproof, fire retardant qualities, the material has historically been used in the production of shoes, as well as for flooring and wall cladding. Nowadays, it is experiencing a resurgence in design and architecture due to the fact that is it also recyclable and, according to Tom Dixon, carbon-negative as it can be harvested without harming the tree that it grows on.
To keep transport to a minimum, the pieces of this furniture collection themselves are also produced in Portugal, with the round tables and stools made from solid cork while the rectangular table and shelf have a cork veneer over a plywood and cardboard frame.
Tom Dixon also features this furniture collection at his own restaurant in Milan, The Manzoni. But this latest iteration sees the material used across a range of different furniture collection pieces, which will be available for purchase from the end of March.
Photography is by Peer Lindgreen.
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