Although cork is increasingly less used exclusively for stoppers, its historical connection with wine is undeniable. It is therefore not surprising that important wine cellars and wineries choose it as a solution for closure or aesthetics. In Portugal, references using this option are Quinta do Portal, Douro Architecture Award 2010/2011, and LogoAdega, in the Alentejo. In the first example, the project was by the architect Siza Vieira, who used cork as an exterior covering to integrate the building into the landscape (a criteria that he would repeat in the aforementioned Portuguese Pavilion). In the case of LogoAdega, a project by the PMC Architects team, the choice of Corticeira Amorim materials was also an integral part of the exterior aesthetics of the building. It made such an impression that the project was nominated for the 2011 Building of the Year Award.
Architecture and cork have affinities that date back to the appearance of the concept of organic architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright, who is the greatest reference in this field, used it in his masterpiece Fallingwater, in the late 1930s. The USA's most famous architect was a cork enthusiast and chose it to cover some of the floors of the rooms of his most famous design. Cork not only made the rooms in the house warmer but also contributed to promoting harmony with nature - this was one of the major requirements of the original construction built on a waterfall, in the Bear Run Nature Reserve (Pennsylvania). Fallingwater, considered to be one of the most famous houses in the world, is now a museum which has already received over 4.5 million visitors since it opened to the public in 1964.
The choice by international design
The use of cork in interior spaces is a world trend, which has already been embraced by the creativity of some of the most renowned artists. Jasper Morrison, James Irvine and Daniel Michalik are just a few of the international designers who find in cork the material of choice for their furniture designs.
Even renowned organisations focused on modern and distinguishing materials seek solutions in cork for the most innovative design. Such is the case of the London company Established & Sons which together with Corticeira Amorim often tests the application of cork on its pieces. Also a reflection of the interest in this area is Vitra, which has long included cork in its collections. Recently, this well-renowned contemporary furniture brand actually transformed the exterior of one of its stores in New York into a summer landscape, using cork as the base product in chairs, seating and other objects. One of the most recent revelations of the Vitra collection is Cork Table, by the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec. It is a modular structure completely made out of cork, planned for an open-space office, which benefits from the innate properties of the raw material to increase comfort in working areas.