Cork: a natural technology for the future

Elizabeth Diller and Benjamin Gilmartin from DS+R were the second participants of the City Cortex programme to visit Corticeira Amorim. The partners of this renowned New York based design and architecture studio, with a portfolio that includes work in areas as diverse as urban design and multimedia performance, were given the opportunity to fully delve into the universe of this fascinating natural material. 

The architects were first introduced to this brand new world through a presentation led by the Amorim & Irmãos team. They then visited Amorim’s ND-Tech unit, where they witnessed the process behind the important elimination of TCA components from the company’s premium cork stoppers. Having explored the advanced level of technology that goes into this process, Diller and Gilmartin were then led towards the surprising Cork Composites showroom.

© Ricardo Gonçalves

Surfboards, shoes, clothing, kayak coatings and various design pieces were some of the highly diverse cork-based products available for examination.

© Ricardo Gonçalves

Throughout the day, they gathered a great deal of information concerning the countless advantages of the use of cork – including its thermal and acoustic insulation properties. They got to know the company’s Floor & Wall Coverings and Insulation units, which is also in constant evolution and a source of great innovation in the field of housing and construction, areas of special interest for a studio that is constantly redefining the boundaries of its field of action.  

The American creatives wrapped up the day with a set of newly acquired information about the extraordinary properties of cork – a truly inspirational material that opens up a plethora of creative possibilities and uses.

© Ricardo Gonçalves

DS+R is responsible for some of the most significant and emblematic projects of contemporary architecture, including the New York High Line, the recent expansion of MoMA and The Shed. City Cortex will reveal how this visionary studio reinterprets a profoundly natural and sustainable raw-material, with results being revealed in 2023