The cork


Most ecological there is. Natural and soft, it keeps the cool and also the warm when needed, and is used to make the environment comfortable and welcoming. Cork is one of the most characteristic natural products in Portugal and is part of everyday life without giving it.

Wine bottle stoppers are the best known object but there are many articles in cork: fashion accessories, clothing and shoes, furniture and coatings, floor or wall, among others. The recent invention of cork fabric has revolutionized this industry and highlighted its highly prized properties: it is tough, versatile, recyclable, hypoallergenic and has both thermal and acoustic qualities. In addition, it has a very simple transformation process to be worked on.

In addition to objects of daily use, cork is part of the history of Portugal and can be found in many monuments and points of interest:

– in the Convent of Christ, in Tomar, classified World Heritage, the window of the Chapter Hall is one of the points not to be missed, for its symbolism and connection to the history of the Discoveries. Among the elements carved in the stone we find cork oak trees, reminiscent of their use in the caravels of the Portuguese navigators.

– the monks knew how cork could make the environment more comfortable. Examples are the Capuchos Convent in Sintra, the Convent of Santa Cruz do Buçaco and the Convent of Serra da Arrábida, where cells and some common facilities are lined with cork.

– the cribs of sec. XVIII, by the sculptor Machado de Castro, with terracotta figures in cork scenarios are a reference in the history of the Portuguese decorative arts. One of them can be seen in the Basilica of the Star, in Lisbon.

– in Sintra, the Chalet of the Countess of Edla was built and decorated according to the romantic spirit of the 18th century. XIX. On corners of doors, windows and glasses, cork is one of the most expressive decorative elements.

– in the Algarve, São Brás de Alportel is a locality where the cork industry had great importance for its development. Today, it is the center of a Cork Route.

– The history of cork is also revealed in local museums, whether ethnographic, such as the José Régio Museum in Portalegre, or linked to industrial archeology, with the Seixal Ecomuseum.

Portugal is the world’s largest producer of cork, responsible for more than 60% of the world’s export volume, and has a cork oak area corresponding to 25% of the world’s total. Therefore, when traveling through the country, especially in the Alentejo, notice how the cork oak is one of the most common trees in the landscape.

Being cork a highly versatile natural product, it allows to do things almost unimaginable. See examples.

A dress for Lady Gaga
It was with Pelcor cork fabric that designer Teresa Martins recently worked on a complete look she created for Lady Gaga. Inspired by the music of the well-known singer and Klimt’s work of art, which Vienna honored celebrating its 150th anniversary, Teresa Martins created a gold and silver plated cork dress and hand-embroidered with beads and metallic threads, recreating the textures and compositions that are known from the pictures of the painter.
The dress that symbolizes the fusion between fashion, music and art took 2 years to be produced and was offered to Lady Gaga, who used it in an ArtRave that happened in Lisbon, following the concert that gave in Lisbon in November 2014. The It was so much appreciated that Lady Gaga shared it on social networks.

Works made of cork stoppers
Once used in wine bottles, cork stoppers may seem useless, but there are artists who give them a new function and use them to create works of art.
Scott Gundersen is an American artist from Chicago who uses cork stoppers in his works. The first face she created was Jeanne’s in 2009, with 3842 corkscrews and in 2010, created the face of a friend, Grace. This gigantic work occupied the artist 50 hours and used 9217 cork stoppers. It is also their way of drawing attention to the importance of recycling and sustainable art.
At the invitation of Turismo de Portugal, Scott Gundersen presents a reproduction of a portrait of King Felipe VI and Queen Leticia at the international tourism fair, FITUR, in Madrid. The framework will consist of more than 30,000 corks and will be 2.36m high and 3.3m long. It weighs about 140 kg.

Insulation used by NASA
The Portuguese company Corticeira Amorim is one of the main partners in providing insulation solutions to NASA.

A surfboard in cork
Hawaiian surfer Garrett McNamara, who surfed one of the biggest waves in the world, has a surfboard entirely made of Portuguese cork. Dozens of design, research, aerodynamics and materials development professionals, along with Garrett McNamara himself, helped produce the ideal board to withstand and ride the giant waves of the Nazareth cannon.

Skates with better performance
An innovative cork skateboard was developed by the Australian producer Lavender Archer Cork Skateboards, with the support of Corticeira Amorim. Its cork rolling production, with proven performance benefits, was motivated by the need to reduce the vibration typical of the traditional skates currently on the market.

Source: Turismo de Portugal

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