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Cork: a universe of possibilities one step away from the consumer

Articles

How cork became a favoured decoration element in furniture, upholstery, wall coverings, cushions and curtains?

Fashion and trends linked to the global market are, generally, temporary and circumscribed in time. In the modern retail industry there is an acknowledged focus on strategies that accompany this consumption need. Through the use of little tricks, such as presenting collections earlier or inserting new products in the middle of the season, the launch of new products can be permanently ensured.

These commercial dynamics increasingly apply to new business segments and are not confined to the fashion industry. Inspirations and trends in the fields of decoration, new consumer electronic products, the car industry and even smartphone applications are constantly changing and, therefore, the "next thing" automatically takes on the role of "next best thing" in society. In general, consumers directly associate "new" with "quality".

Social networks have emerged as strong enhancing instruments of this era of instantaneous consumption. We just have to go back three years in time to perceive a huge change in habits, even in the way each of us expresses ourselves in the virtual world. Presently, we intuitively include the hashtag (#) in most of our interactions, something that was not the case before. Taking into account the strength of this simple tool, if we wished to put it "to work" in this article the word chosen for the hashtag would be #cork. Firstly, because this is our raw material and because we belong to CORTICEIRA AMORIM, world leader in the cork industry and responsible for the mass dissemination of this product as an effective answer for multiple applications.

On the theme of "trends and shifts in paradigm”, it should be noted that cork itself is today a fashionable material, widely recognised as such by media figures and influential people from around the world.  Cork is, besides an unbeatable option in terms of sustainability (an increasingly valued requirement), a mouldable material, which allows it to be adapted to very different designs and even, in some cases, unlikely designs. For example, the WGSN group - the world’s highest authority on forecasting trends, entirely focused on the fashion and creative industry - chose cork as a global trend for 2016. It stated that cork would become the favoured decoration element in furniture, upholstery, wall coverings, cushions and curtains.

Cork has accordingly extended (and it is expected that this will continue) to new business areas, showing that human imagination is the limit. Among the many uses - except the most traditional and well known ones, such as stoppers and solutions for the construction industry – cork especially stands out in products linked to the decoration/design and retail. The advantage of some products of these segments is the ease of handling that cork offers: through the "do it yourself" (DIY) concept any consumer can perform a personal decorative project.

The whole universe of cork products reflects its personality, 100% natural, reusable and very resistant. Regardless of its format – thick or thin, granulated or natural - cork transfers its intrinsic features to the final application, such as waterproofing, thermal and acoustic insulation, smooth and comfortable touch, resilience and durability. Even when the project it forms part of is merely decorative, that project will end up obtaining additional benefits because it contains cork.

It is envisaged that in 2017 cork will capture a place of importance in the range of new organic materials, representing a timeless solution that is at the same time modern, and which favourably answers the needs of industry and consumers.

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