Jasper Morrison’s first solo gallery exhibition in North America, Corks, was on view at Kasmin’s 297 Tenth Avenue space in New York. The exhibition put on view Jasper’s first complete series of furniture editions realized in cork.
Jasper’s interest in cork stems from its remarkable functionality as well as its unique atmospheric qualities, which he recognizes as a key design component of an object’s long-term success. Developed by the cork oak tree as a protective covering, this particular iteration of the material is reconstituted from unselected wine bottle corks, some still visible in their original shape.
Why did you choose now to work further with the material and how have your thoughts developed?
A few years after the first cork pieces that I did for Vitra, I did a small edition piece for them – a low chair all out of the same block cork material. I've had one of them in my London apartment and noticed how well the material and the shape were for the atmosphere of the room to the point that I decided to do more along the same lines.
We see finer edges and more sweeping lines in these new cork pieces. Has there been any development in the recycled material in this time and what can be achieved with it?
JM: Some of the new pieces are more shapely and some of them, like the shelves or the cork shaped tables, are less so. The material is the same, so I think it must be more of a state of mind. But the process of machining the shapes from large blocks of cork is quite a sculptural one and is very different from the usual industrial processes, and that might also explain some of the more shapely pieces.
We’ve now seen cork in a full range of furniture and as a building material. What else can it do: are there even bigger ideas you’d like to explore in cork in future?
JM: It's such a pleasing material to look at and to touch. I doubt this will be the last time I use it. It also has so many useful properties – it is waterproof, fire proof (the cork oak tree developed this bark to protect itself from forest fires), rot proof, insect proof (too chewy for them), it has amazing insulating properties, and is highly resistant to damage, so there are many possibilities. The industry itself is a zero waste one and the removal of the cork from the trees is fully sustainable. Cork forests store huge amounts of carbon too.
Extracted from an interview with Icon magazine