Feb 26, 2010

Luscious Cork Floors

Cork is one of the oldest materials for floors,
but is enjoying a renaissance at the moment
because of its environmental credentials.
This room shows how elegant it can be, 
especially when combined with 
creamy whites, yellow or gold elements, 
and more texture with other timbers.
Cork is the bark harvested from living cork trees,
which are then allowed to grow a new bark layer for later harvesting.
This process does not shorten the life of the tree - in fact it lengthens it!
The trees are native to Europe and Africa, 
and can live for up to 250 years. 
In that time, each tree can be harvested up to 12 times. 
So a very long process. 
Most of the world's cork plantations are in Portugal, 
with Spain and Italy making up the bulk of the remaining 50%. 
{Espresso, from the MJO Cafe Collection.}

It is possible to get some beautiful colours 
and textures in cork floors - like these
MJO cork tiles.
 {Latte, from the MJO Cafe Collection.}

Cork floors can be traditional tile as well as 
the newer floating cork boards, which snap lock together. 
They work well if your floor is not perfectly level, 
as there is some tolerance built in for variations.
MJO "Harmony Creme" floating floor. 

As an environmentally friendly floor material, 
cork is one of the "greenest" products, 
both in its harvesting and manufacturing. 
Even the cork powder produced when it is cut 
in the factory is burnt to produce electricity. 
And in your home, cork does not release toxic off-gases. 
And for another use of cork...
these "Cork" tables, by Vitra are a tongue in cheek 
use of a fabulous material - 
and can be used as stools or side tables.  
 Now this is a gorgeous idea! 
The clever people at Modello Designs in 
California have created this beautiful marquetry 
from different colours of cork.

Do you like cork floors?
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