Visiting Portugal’s cork forests with Amorim
Back in June, Quadrant’s Martin, Peter and Tara were joined by six designers on a four-day trip to Porto, Lisbon and the Portuguese cork forests. They learned about the incredible process of harvesting cork and visited Amorim, the world’s largest producer of cork products – and supplier of our sustainable cork flooring range.
THE CORK FORESTS
After arriving in Lisbon and enjoying a first dinner together, the team set off the next day to the cork forests. There, they watched first-hand as bark was cut from the cork oaks. It’s a difficult task performed with such skill that the trees remain undamaged.
Talking the group through the process was Mariana from Amorim. She shared more information about the natural properties that make cork ideal as a wall and floor covering.
The team then headed off to Porto, where they visited Amorim’s flooring factory and showroom. Founded in 1870, Amorim is the largest producer of cork products in the world – including our collection of cork flooring!
Next stop was Porto’s Casa da Música, a grand concert hall designed in 2001 when the city was European Capital of Culture. A kids’ playroom in the building features cork walling and flooring. The team also got to see the wall and ceiling of tiles hand painted in the traditional Portuguese style in the VIP room.
The last stop on the trip was a tour and tasting at Graham’s Port Wine Cellars before the group’s final dinner together.
THE SUPERPOWERS OF CORK
At Quadrant, we’re constantly learning about cork’s myriad natural properties and sustainable powers. Here are some new facts we learned on this trip:
— The cork oak forest is one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots, home to more than 160 species of birds, 37 species of mammals and 24 species of reptiles and amphibians. As the trees don’t get felled during the harvest, these natural habitats are preserved.
— Each cork oak can be stripped 15-18 times in its lifetime without being cut down or damaged. The cork bark regrows and is harvested every 9 years between the months of May and August.
— According to WWF, over 100,000 people living in the Mediterranean basin are economically dependant on the cork oak forests and cork-related business activities. In Portugal, the cork oak forests create 9,000 jobs in the cork industry and 6,500 in forest maintenance.
— Green Cork is a recycling programme through which used bottle corks are transformed into other products. First, the corks are treated and ground down in the world’s first cork recycling unit. The resulting granules are then incorporated into new applications, ranging from aircraft components, fashion items and rugs to our very own cork flooring collection.
THANK YOU, TEAM CORK!
Thanks to Amorim and all of the designers that joined Quadrant’s Martin, Peter and Tara on the cork trip to Portugal: Susan Bold from Oktra, Livia Dicenso from KKS, John Mgbadiefe from Bisset Adams, Steven Brewer of Burtt-Jones & Brewer, Louisa Cree from McFarlane Latter and Giacomo Ribolla of Johnson Ribolla.