Amorim Cork in the Portuguese Pavilion in the Venice Biennale of Architecture

Photo: vershinin89

Source: aicep Portugal global

Corticeira Amorim, the world’s biggest cork processing group, is supporting the Portuguese representation at the 17th edition of the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

The project, In Conflict, proposed by the Porto-based studio, depA Architects, chosen to lead the curatorship of the Portuguese Pavilion (Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, of the Fondazione Ugo and Olga Levi), is supported by about 100 linear metres of technical agglomerated cork. Cork and Corticeira Amorim are therefore returning to the City of Canals after their previous successful appearances in 2013, 2017 and 2019.

In Conflict follows in the wake of other projects supported by Corticeira Amorim that over the last decade have promoted cork in some of the world’s most important creative showcases. It is worth recalling Joana de Vasconcelos’ Lisbon ferry boat, “Trafaria Praia” (Venice Biennale, 2013), Tiago Sá’s “Curcubita” lamps (Venice Design 2017), and the cork flooring of Leonor Antunes’ installation, “a seam, a surface, a hinge or a knot” and Nacho Carbonell’s lighting design, “Inside a Forest Cloud” (Venice Biennale, 2019). This is a set of artistic interventions that also demonstrate the versatility of cork as a creative, innovative, cultural and educational element.

This conclusion is underlined by Cristina Rios de Amorim, director of Corticeira Amorim, who considers that “it is an honour to collaborate in initiatives that have such great relevance, notoriety and visibility. We are also delighted to see cork’s increasingly attractive appeal to artists, designers and architects. It is a natural, renewable and sustainable raw material, capable of resolving the most demanding problems, and prepared to find solutions to many of the core challenges facing the current world”.

The proposal, In Conflict, from the collective depA Architects aims to provide a direct answer to the question, “How will we live together?”. Based on an exhibition, conversations and debates, depA aims to “think about the role of architecture as an artistic, public, political and ethical discipline”. The exhibition project focuses on Portugal in the process of decolonisation, with a young democracy and still a relatively poor country, marked by material destruction, social displacement and weak civic participation. In this context, other issues related to this issue are will also be addressed, “building a broad and transversal panorama of the first 45 years of Portuguese democracy as reflected in Portuguese architecture”, creating a space where everyone can imagine, discuss and design a common future.

The presence of cork in the 17th Venice Biennale of Architecture, which opens its doors next Saturday, May 22, and runs until November 21, will also be reflected in the SUBER Design collection. This is an initiative launched by Amorim Cork Italia in 2019, that has been offering a second life to recycled cork stoppers. It commences by transforming them into small granules which, after being combined with other materials, are used to make new objects such as lighting systems, tables, benches, umbrella holders or clothes hangers, etc. This time, the creativity of the renowned transalpine architect, Michele Lucchi, resulted in the production of 16 benches, with a distinct design.

Amorim Cork Italia’s cork stopper recycling programme, entitled ETICO, was recently awarded the BBS award by the Bilancio Sociale Library, one of the most important Italian distinctions in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility. Operating since 2011, ETICO involves several associations and institutions that, in turn, mobilise around 1,000 volunteers and manage more than 5,000 collection points for corks throughout Italy. Over the last five years, an average of 100 tons of cork stoppers have been collected.

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