Forest fires have brought such destruction to so many around the world, it's strange to think there's a furniture designer out there who was able to create new things from the environmental wreckage.
In Portugal, cork harvested from the country's abundant cork oak trees is big business. But in 2017, a forest fire in central Portugal scorched an orchard, rendering the bark--the part of the tree that gets harvested and turned into cork—unsuitable for production. This was devastating for the producer, as the bark can only be harvested once every nine years.
Portugal resident Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, a French expat and furniture designer, witnessed the damage first-hand as he drove through the burning countryside. "The experience brought him closer to this new landscape," writes Yellow Trace magazine, "and fostered a desire to design a furniture collection that contains and exhibits the marks of its history. Through expressions of regeneration from material to process a new creation from the fires was born."
In other words, Duchaufour-Lawrance managed to have the burnt bark processed into burnt cork, which is useless in the cork marketplace, but un-useless when integrated into his designs for cork furniture. All of the bases for his Burnt Cork collection are made with the undesirable stuff, but as the material travels upwards and blossoms into the touch-surfaces, it transitions into pristine cork.
"A tribute to Portuguese Cork, an ode to the resilience of material, of people, of process. From calcined* bark to fine grain, from rawness to fluid curves, the BURNT CORK collection plays with dichotomies."
I think the stuff looks great, and frankly, if I didn't read that the bottom stuff is considered junk, I'd not have guessed.
*Calcined (I had to look it up): "Reduced, oxidized, or desiccated by roasting or exposing to strong heat."