why WE LOVE CORK...
I have been working closely, along side an amazing Portuguese family, who have specialised in the cork manufacturing business for over 50 years. With their in-depth knowledge we have together developed the cork elements of our lights which represents our beliefs, promotes good design and champions the material we love – cork. Each piece is hand-crafted by a skilled set of craftsmen and is individually finished with care and attention.
The Cork Oak tree (also named, Quercus Suber L), is a tree with very special characteristics. It is the bark of the tree which is the cork, this is self regenerative and it is only this which is harvested, the tree is not cut down and will continue to live and grow.
Cork has unique properties that no other material in the world is comparable to. It is one of the ultimate sustainable materials. In addition to it being natural, lightweight, impermeable, buoyant, elastic, and having fire retardant properties, it is also biodegradable, renewable and recyclable. Even the smallest grains left over from the production of cork are being used to create power for their factories.
Cork is extracted only from early May to late August, when the cork can be separated from the tree without causing permanent damage. Cork harvesting is done entirely without machinery, being dependent solely on specialised human labour. Usually five people are required to harvest the tree's bark, using only their hands and a small sharp axe. The process requires training due to the skill required to harvest bark without harming the tree.
Cork oaks commonly live more than 200 years. Virgin cork is the first cork cut from generally 25-year-old trees. However, this first harvest almost always produces poor quality. Another 9 years is required for the second harvest which is better quality, with the tree only being harvested about eighteen times in its lifetime.
The cork oak tree is a protected species and can not be cut down, even the felling of old, unproductive trees, farmers need special permission from the Ministry of Agriculture.
The cork oak trees provide livelihoods for thousands of people, which in turn helps to protect a diverse ecosystem including endemic plants, endangered species and protecting the land they grow within. Besides their capacity to produce oxygen, like all trees, cork oaks have a unique cell structure that enables them to retain carbon dioxide, which is the main cause of global warming.
Buying cork products will help to keep this special balance between humans and nature.