Mozelos, Portugal—Corticeira Amorim and FAT – Fashion Architecture Taste, the London- based practice, joined for the first time at the London Design Festival, which ran between Sept. 14 and Sept. 22, as cork from Portugal was showcased again at the international event. This innovative project, just recently unveiled in London, was developed from a natural cork floor covering. The final result was seen on a bridge over the V&A’s Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, the event’s main venue.
During the official opening, Ben Evans, director at London Design Festival, said, “Amorim is the world’s biggest cork producer and the most interesting. It is why we wanted to partner with them for this project, which ambitiously showed what cork is capable of. Working with the V&A and architects FAT has given us the best cork floor I have ever seen.”
With an avant-garde approach to a natural cork floor covering—one of the major products of the industry—the project invited the visitor to discover the visual and tactile properties of cork while challenging existing connotations with the material. Through this project, it was also possible to witness the performance of cork floors in terms of both thermal and acoustical insulation.
Sean Griffiths, an architect and director of FAT, said, “It’s been a fascinating experience entering Amorim’s world of cork. It really is a 21st century material, which is highly sustainable. Using cork has allowed us to work in a very different way, starting with the material as generator of the concept. Cork has a very natural appearance, which is supported by an intricate geometric structure and the main idea of the design is to capture the relationship between these aspects of the material. The design also makes use of the strong visual acoustic and tactile qualities of the material.”
The floor was made up of a series of cork tiles laid in a repeating trompe l’oeil geometric pattern, which is based on a scientific diagram of the cellular structure of cork. The pattern also recalled certain architectural characteristics of the Douro region of Portugal, where geometric tile patterns are often found.
António Amorim, chairman/CEO of Corticeira Amorim said, “Amorim’s partnership with the London Design Festival was a unique opportunity to showcase CorkTech, by Wicanders, our innovative, design-driven natural cork flooring. Combining FAT’s cutting-edge creativity with cork’s unmatched technical capabilities delivered an exciting, contemporary perspective on nature’s most sustainable flooring solution.”
The London Design Festival is an annual event held in September to celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world. The involvement of Corticeira Amorim in the event is part of a concerted strategy designed to attract the attention of the international design community to the potential of natural cork used in innovative flooring solutions.
The London Design Festival is a key constituent of London’s Autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival. Established in 2003 its role is to celebrate and promote London as the world’s design capital and gateway to the to the International design community.
Last year there were 79 shows and events at the festival’s central hub at the V&A, while the four Design Districts (including Brompton Design District, Shoreditch Design Triangle, Fitzrovia Now and new London Fields Design District) hosted over 100 events.
The festival attracted a dedicated—or direct—audience of over 350,000 people, from over 60 countries with a wider audience of over two million people coming into contact with the major public commissions.
Audiences at the V&A totalled 111,538 for the 10-day period of the festival, which was one of the busiest weeks recorded in the Museum’s history. It is estimated that over 1,250 design companies have generated new business as a result of involvement in the festival for 2012.
The festival works closely with, and receives financial support directly from, the Mayor’s office—having transferred support from the London Development Agency. The festival also receives support from Arts Council England, as a National Portfolio Organisation 2012-15.
For more, visit londondesignfestival.com.