DESIGN STUDIO NIRUK x CORK
„We go through life with open eyes and linger on something we find interesting: whether it‘s a material, a manufacturing process, or a texture that’s pleasant to the touch. It‘s about a perception of aesthetics as we understand it – anything can be relevant.“
CORK. Nina Ruthe & David Antonin of Design Studio Niruk focus on a new material, examine its visual and tactile qualities, and create unique forms and products. The result: natural, soft and warm; velvety, exquisite and emotional; graphic, architectural and clear. NIRUK has designed four products for the Portuguese brand Cork Units. A pared-down, yet evocative, design idiom. Characterised by the natural material of cork, the special manufacturing process and a uniquely warm texture. A cork oak must grow for 25 years before its bark can be harvested for the first time: this first cut is called virgin cork. Its rugged surface is different from all subsequent cuts in the life of a cork oak. Cork needs time to regenerate: it can only be harvested every nine years. Afterwards, the bark cuts are stored, dried and sawn into boards, which are then glued and processed into blocks. A material that can tell a story – quietly, but emphatically.
NIRUK also tells a story: about texture, forms and colours, about the creation of materials and manufacturing processes. After glass and porcelain, the current focus is on cork. Which shapes and applications suit this material? The result: four durable and well thought-out designs – sustainability paired with contemporary aesthetics. NIRUK creates products that exude authenticity. Following material studies and intensive research in NIRUK’s own ‘material lab’, the design process set in. The results are the PORTOBELLO wall hooks, the CORKBOARD wall shelf, the BALANÇO swing and the PLAY side table. Made of cork, characterised by clear, graphic design. The products are defined by geometrical shapes, they are pleasing to the touch and the material’s changing natural shades feel familiar.
The PORTOBELLO coat hooks are inspired by nature; the smaller versions can also be used as knobs for closets and chests of drawers. The cork’s tactile qualities are reminiscent of the velvety surface of mushrooms, while the shape of the knobs picks up the rounded form, which, through the graphic cut transforms into a circle on the front surface.
Pared-down architectural forms: The PLAY side table is defined by two differently sized cork blocks; the lightweight material and the staggered arrangement break up the solidity of the composition. A powder-coated shelf made of edged steel provides storage space for magazines and books.
The CORKBOARD SHELF is inspired by driftwood that acquires its soft, rounded form and its texture by contact with water and sand. The irregularities of nature are transformed into a simple and pared-down shape that is repeated in the simplicity of the wall fastening. Lightweight but solid, at the same time, round, geometrical and floating.
For indoors and outdoors: With the BALANÇO swing, the focus is on movement – and on the child that we are at heart. Both the geometrical shape and the size of the hemi-sphere with rounded edges provide safety and comfort.The rope is made of sustainable, recycled PET.