Back to nature with cork!

Organic yet ultra-modern – the grainy bark of the cork oak endows the room with a very special atmosphere.

Springy, durable, anti-static and returning from decades in the wilderness: Cork is back – and in a somewhat unfamiliar guise. We have a few surprises in store for you.

Cork and corduroy have a number of things in common. Aside from having names that sound somewhat familiar, there are other parallels between the two materials in the way their popularity has fluctuated over the years. Despite being really in vogue in the 1970s, they later fell into steep decline. Within a short period of time, both cork and corduroy came to be regarded as stuffy and old-fashioned. Today, however, it’s not uncommon to see hipsters walking around in corduroy suits; and cork has similarly bounced back into fashion as a trendy material in homes.

This comeback was foreseen some time ago by visionary designers. As early as 2004, Jasper Morrison designed a series of cork stools for Vitra, but these were to retain their exotic touch for a number of years after that. In the meantime, the material has come back into favour for a large range of furnishings and accessories – from classical heat maps and table tops to stylish wall coverings. It’s also making a comeback as a floor covering.

The material has many outstanding properties. Cork is light, elastic, antistatic, insulating, sound absorbing and – due to its dirt- and mite-repellent qualities – an ideal surface for people with allergies. Furthermore, it’s a renewable resource; a cork oak can be debarked every nine to twelve years over a typical 200-year lifetime. Above all, however, cork is a material that people simply love to touch!

Used as a floor covering, cork is able to flaunt its enormous range of qualities – particularly in households with kids. The elastic and sound absorbing surface is extremely durable and pleasantly warm to the touch. Thanks to its elasticity, a cork floor is also kinder to spines and joints than other surfaces.

But the renaissance of cork flooring is not restricted to a revival of the classical look we were familiar with some decades ago, although this is still available of course. Proving to be the ideal material for modern digital printing technology, cork is now being offered in a number of completely new decorative variants. HARO, for example, offers floor coverings that feel like cork underfoot, but look exactly like oak or walnut. (Go to to learn more). A little confusing, perhaps, but only in the beginning. Above all, everything’s completely natural.

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