Tom Dixon releases new furniture collection made from “dream material” cork
British designer Tom Dixon is releasing a series of furniture made from cork that has been charred to give it a rich, deep brown color reminiscent of rosewood.
A tactile material which has been used for millennia in nautical, construction, apparel and food applications, Cork is the ultimate traditional material fit for the future. Tom Dixon’s latest experiments with cork include a series of tables, a stool and a shelving system.
“When I was growing up we had cork floors and they had this amazing warmth and tactility. Cork is also sound absorbent, fireproof, water resistant and lighter than water, which is why it floats, so it’s easy to transport. In terms of a dream material, you couldn’t really get a lot better.” – Tom Dixon
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 the Cork 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.
To keep transport to a minimum, the pieces themselves are 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.
The soft, rounded edges are created through CNC milling machines, with the offcuts reused to form new composite blocks.
Strongly expressed materiality is an underpinning theme of most of what Tom Dixon does and that’s why the Cork collection is his current obsession.
By repurposing this wonder material for the range of extremely fat edged and chubby silhouette furniture, they have taken full advantage of the elasticity, the sound absorption and water proof nature of cork, which combined with its natural beauty makes a unique set of seriously sculptural furniture with expressive minimalist attributes and superior functionality.