You wouldn’t think that onions and cork would have much in common but Benamor Duarte Architecture has connected these unrelated elements to create a interactive installation called the Onion Pinch. This installation was conceived as a Babies and Adult Rest Station for a Lisbon subway station with the goal of getting the attention of its passengers and creating a sculptural piece that people could touch, lay on and rest.

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Because cork is so flexible they cut sturdy strip and connected the tops together to create the onion shape which creates a hammock or rocking structure that can support the weight of a person. The installation was articulated in a series of internal paths in which babies could run, walk, climb, lay and rock. The tracks were articulated by the opening or closing of the profiles. Shape and profile transformations were obtained by literally pinching the cork with a bolt. When placed on the higher positions of the profile, the onion configuration would open up. Moving the bolt toward the ground made the shape close down.

By approaching the project we immediately understood that we wanted to construct a space affecting user’s behavior, a real place that people would recognize as such. We wanted to create a space having the capacity to transform, by its physicality, the life in a subway station.

In order to achieve our goal, like surgeons we started to study and to dissect the material we were using for the installation: the cork. We wanted to identify a design concept and a very simple construction technique. We wanted to create an intimate relation between material properties and user’s physicality. Cork was reduced to a list of material properties and attributes that could interact with people: Texture, Granularity, Porosity, Acoustic insulation, Density, Thickness and finally the most important: Flexibility.

Cork is very flexible. Flexibility means elasticity and vibration. A response to touch to body pressure. Thanks to its flexibility, it was possible to shape the cork. We wanted to offer a dynamic shelter, an hammock, a space: the project was achieved by literally folding fifteen strips of cork to obtain an onion ring effect.

The onion rings were realized with different cork types and thicknesses. The installation was articulated in a series of internal paths in which babies could run, walk, climb, lay and rock. The tracks were articulated by the opening or closing of the profiles. Shape and profile transformations were obtained by literally pinching the cork with a bolt. When placed on the higher positions of the profile, the onion configuration would open up. Moving the bolt toward the ground made the shape close down.

The unique parameter, ‘position on the Z axis of the bolt’, affected another condition of the rings: the flexibility or level of vibration. Therefore with the form transformation the rigidity of the shape also changed. For the more open type of profile the flexibility was higher. A simple touch could activate the ring vibration by literally transforming the Onion in culls. For the more rigid shapes the vibration was limited.

Beside the apparent rigidity of the design approach, when installed in the subway the onion installation immediately became an urban toy. People slowed down from their everyday rhythm and looked at the installation, touched it, pushed it and tested the different reactions of the onion to body pressure. Babies immediately appropriate the space. The presence of an extremely alive object, with its texture, with the oscillation of the onion rings, transformed an unfamiliar, cold space like the subway station into a lively oasis. Children entered the space and started to inhabit it.


If your entertaining it is always nice to to have all the right accessories to serve wine so I have decided to do a round up of all the best wine gear I have come across in my internet browsing.

Check out this vintage vase that is for sale on Etsy which measures 5 – 5/8″ tall x 3 – 1/4″ in diameter at the base. The pitcher is completely covered in cork and the interior is a terracotta colored ceramic. Since there are no markings on the bottom or inside it is hard to date this item but it is extremely cool in a Silence Of The Lamp patchwork style way.

This is a sweet little lamp that combines my two fetishes, cork and Apple products. I mean, how awesome is this nicely styled lamp that has a built in USB cable so I can charge my iPhone. The lamp comes in 2 different sizes and the smaller one has a digital clock which makes it perfect for the night stand. The base of the lamp is made of cork so it doesn’t scratch the surface it sits on and also creates the interior base so my lovely phone has a soft cushion to sit on. I only wish the USB cord was longer for the night stand version so I could charge my iPhone while it is under my pillow because I like to wake up to the soothing vibrations of my phone’s alarm clock. Maybe that is to much information…..

Unveiled at Maison & Objet 2012, Hodge Podge USB Lamp creates a little dome beneath which you can keep and charge your beloved items like MP3 players and smart phones. A cork base gives the aforementioned electronic items a safe haven, so they can recharge without getting lost or damaged. Hodge Podge USB Lamp is also a great place to keep other essentials of daily life—keys, wallets, etc.

A smaller version of the table lamp exists which, aside from the USB port, comes equipped with a small alarm clock. Hodge Podge comes in three colors: grey, green, and off-white. The smaller version of Hodge Podge is available in grey and off-white only. Hodge Podge is an excellent choice for bedside tables the world over. People who lose their phones because they always charge them in a different spot will love Hodge Podge.

Via 3 Rings

Maybe I am a petty person but there are certain people in this world that really bug me. I usually just send mean brain wave mojo at them but I get very little tactile satisfaction out of it. So I have a new plan and it involves these cork voodoo dolls. So this is fair warning to all those people who have crossed me, if you feel a painful jabbing in your shoulder or your head or your belly ITS ME!!!

Via Mocoloco

OMG! Talking about my death is kind of creepy but I guess it is something that will eventually happen, so when I am cremated I want my ashes to be put in this awesome cork urn. India based industrial design student, Margaux Ruyant has created a cremation urn that has a ceramic memorial engraving on the top and a cork base. You insert a boxwood tree (with bio degradable container)  through the top opening and into your ashes, which fertilize the tree and allow it to grow. The cork base will slowly dissolve, letting the tree roots expand and continue the cycle of life. I always thought I would want my ashes to be scattered in the sea but this is definitely another great option. Still kind of creepy thinking of my death.

Via Inhabitat 

Steven Leslie is a San Francisco artist who has been creating sculptures from wine cork bottles since 2002, when a friend of his, who owned a restaurant, asked him what he should do with the old wine corks that he had been collecting for years.

Steve blurted out “I’d make the Eiffel Tower” and so began a year long journey of Steve trying construct “Le Courk Eiffel” for his friends restaurant but during the process he really connected with the material and  has continued building amazing cork bottle sculptures. Read a excerpt from his website below and please visit his website where you can see his other creations and call him to purchase. Make sure you look at his cork trivets. They are really cool.

My next creation was a six-foot tall vase I called “Cork in the Road.” We’ve reached a fork in the road as to how wine bottles are being stopped. In ancient times vases and jars were used to carry and preserve their contents. Some vases unearthed hundreds of years later prove that the corks used long ago can maintained their integrity through an incredible test of time. As my own years have gone by I’ve taken notice that the use of plastic corks and screw caps to bottle wine is becoming more and more popular. I prefer natural corks. And I like the idea of preserving these tiny little artifacts of life and history. I feel corks represent something important. I view Cork In The Road as a symbolic image; preservation of a huge assortment of natural wine corks in the form of a corks preserving counterpart a vase.

Being involved with wine corks as constantly as I have been for the last few years has allowed me to explore new ways of using the beauty of natural wine corks to create objects more functional than what has yet been done with used wine corks. I created this new method of removing the rich and interesting outer edge of the cork to produce a used-cork-skin veneer which I’ve been applying with great care to everything from Lazy-Susan’s and serving platters,  to coaster sets and chess boards.

For years I’ve passively pursued the collection of more used wine corks in order to continue building my cork creations. But finding a great consistent source of corks wasn’t easy.

I would drive to different restaurants and wine bars and ask them to collect their corks for me. More often than not they would willingly begin collecting them. still it was a tedious process. But in summer 2008 I was introduced to Christine Lemor-Drake a local Re-cork America coordinator. She was happy to see what I’ve been up to with used wine corks down in Redondo beach and offered to help me in the way of supplying me some corks for my projects. I still drive around to pick up used wine corks. but the quantities at each location are increasingly great as the popularity of Cork recycling grows. I moved to San Francisco in 2009 producing smaller more functional pieces at prices more attractive to the crowds in and around the ferry building and Justin Herman plaza. I began expanding the number of items I produce with cork veneer.

Read more about Steve and purchase his creations at  One Of A Cork

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