a monthly round-up of the world's best interiors and design stories
CORQUE DESIGN, a young Portuguese design studio, is on a mission to promote eco-efficient and sustainable methods of production.
Co-founded by Ana Mestre, a designer and researcher based in Portugal, CORQUE DESIGN creates beautiful and distinctive objects for the home made from one of the country's most abundant and sustainable resources: Cork.
After making its official U.S. debut at a Meatpacking District exhibit in conjunction with ICFF and NY Design Week, CORQUE DESIGN's collection of eco-friendly furniture and home accessories, designed by prestigious and emerging Portuguese talent, is now available in the U.S. at retail stores on the east and west coasts.
Cork is a natural, recyclable, non-toxic and renewable material that is extracted, every nine years, from the Sobreiro (cork oak) without the need to cut it down. With an excellent atmospheric CO2 fixing capacity and a transformation process that has very little waste and low usage of resources, cork is one of the world's finest eco-efficient materials. It is also lightweight, flexible, waterproof and fire-resistant, making it a desirable choice for product design.
Ana Mestre is considered an international authority on sustainable cork design. After receiving her Master's degree in Industrial Design and Renewable Technologies, she started her professional career as an Ecodesign researcher at The Poruguese National Institute of Technology. In 2004, she was invited to be an Assistant Professor in the field of design and sustainability at the Lisbon Design Institute and then became the founding director of SUSDESIGN - Design for Sustainability Studio, Consultancy Education and Research. She co-founded CORQUE DESIGN in 2009 and also serves as the company's design director and resident product designer.
According to Mestre, "Considering its economic, social and environmental advantages, cork has become increasingly relevant in a worldwide sustainable development movement. This natural material still amazes the scientific community with its broad range of qualities. Through our research we have come to realize that its design potential is endless."
CORQUE DESIGN's collection of products now available in the U.S. market includes:
Lagarta - Designed by Ana Mestre, in collaboration with Inês Pereira, Lagarta is a spherical and playfully infinite modular seating system with seats made from agglomerated expanded cork - the most sustainable kind of cork composite. Finished with a water-based varnish, it measures 420 x 420 x 330 mm.
Vinco - The Vinco chair, designed by Toni Grilo, feels both sophisticated and natural. It is made from a combination of natural agglomerate cork and rubber cork. Its aesthetic is derived from a set of "creases" in the cork flat board, and the volumetric seat is supported by a polished steel structure. It measures 940 x 640 x 640 mm.
Puf String - Designed by Ana Mestre, Puf String has a whimsical quality, and takes the plastic and visual possibilities of rubber cork to the limit. Rubber cork is a special composite of natural rubber, which has been bent to create a wave like aesthetic. It measures 700 x 700 x 350 mm.
Wallcork - Combining cork texture and vibrant patterns, Wall Cork is an innovative and appealing wall covering. Using natural cork and a textile base, it fulfills acoustic and thermal insulation functions. Water based printing techniques are responsible for its colorful nature. Designed by Sofia Dias, it measures 900 x 3000 mm.
Puf-Fup - The Puf Fup, designed by Ana Mestre, is a concept that challenges the creativity of the user with the flexible shape of its string. Created with perfect natural cork spheres, it brings the body into contact with the surface of the cork, providing both comfort and a sensorial experience. It measures 650 x 650 x 350 mm.
Corqui - The Corqui Lounge Chair is a concept that combines comfort and aesthetic. Designed by Pedro Silva Dias, its natural black agglomerate cork has strong sensorial characteristics, allowing one to experience it by sitting or by simply touching the surface. It measures 600 x 750 x 690 mm.
Black Flower - The Black Flower Cork was designed by Ana Mestre as a unique cork sideboard piece with a flower illustration in bas-relief, giving it a special texture refinement. The black agglomerate cork and MDF used in this piece are a result of a non-toxic process of "boiling" the cork at high temperatures, which allows it to change the natural look of cork to a beautiful black "roasted" appearance. It measures 300 x 900 x 1200 mm.
One Sixty Four - Designed by Ana Mestre, the One Sixty Four cork sideboard is aptly named- it contains 164 perfect holes. This simple process of perforation, together with a large number of the cork grains from the surface texture, creates a very original look. Made from natural agglomerate and MDF, it measures 650 x 650 x 300 mm.
Beja - The 3rd pattern of the CORQUE sideboard collection, designed by Ana Mestre, uses a process of printed illustration on surface of natural agglomerate, allowing for a playful contrast between a single color and the natural cork. The motif used is inspired by traditional Portuguese tiles from the city of "Beja"; giving the name to the piece. It measures 300 X 900 X 1200 mm.
Moorish Mosaic - Printing technology allows a playful contrast between the printed cork and the natural agglomerate cork of this table surface. "Moorish Mosaic," designed by Ana Mestre, is a tribute to the Moorish Culture present South of the Iberian Peninsula. The motif is also inspired by the historical tiles of the city of "Beja". It measures 800 x 1800 x 40 mm.
Rolha - This collection of four-cork candlesticks, made from natural/black agglomerate cork, is a playful project that suggests an original relationship between the "cork stopper" (Rolha) and recycled "wine bottles". Designed by Fernando Brizio, this piece reinvents a thousand year relationship between wine and cork. Measurements are 28 x 132 x 92 mm / 73 x 106 x 92 mm / 28 x 80 x 92 mm / 118 x 106 x 92 mm.
Vine - This unique piece makes use of one of the best characteristics of cork material - thermal isolation - making it an excellence choice for cooling wine. In addition to the cork frappe (measuring 189 x 189 x 280 mm) the Inox base (measuring 226 x 418 x 58 mm), can easily be placed on the table board side, taking up minimum space. VINE, made from natural/black agglomerate cork and designed by Ana Mestre, is a perfect combination of elegance, attractiveness and innovation.
Topography - Topography, designed by Luis Pessanha, symbolizes the relationship between the regions where the cork oak trees grow in Portugal and the end product. A collection of four bases for hot tableware, made from natural/black agglomerate cork, incorporate images of the topography lines from specific places, while making use of excellent isolation properties of cork. It measures 300 x 283 x 20 mm / 300 x 223 x 20 mm.
CORQUE DESIGN is a Portuguese home design company that was founded in 2009 by Ana Mestre, the founding director of SUSDESIGN, Design for Sustainability Studio, Consultancy, Education and Research. CORQUE Design’s distinctive product line celebrates cork as an indigenous resource of Portugal, and as a renewable, recyclable, and non-toxic material with economic, social and environmental advantages. It works with emerging and established Portuguese designers.