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.

Make sure you check out this video

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.


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

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

Industrial designer and RISD alumni, Joseph Guerra has created a great looking flashlight created on a CNC machine. This flashlight totally reinterprets form and function and pays homage to the Lytro camera.

Joseph Guerra, a designing student, has crafted an incredible flashlight using CNC-cut cork. The design student of the renowned Rhode Island School of Design has made this flashlight as a great eco-friendly art. The torch provides bright light with its LED lamp. The designer has cut away the top of the cuboid form factor for the handle, which also carries the round on/off switch.

This CNC-cut cork flashlight will help you get out and walk in night. Glowing light from the torch will show you the path ahead. According to Guerra, it is quite easy to produce the flashlight. The materials required for the flashlight are easily accessible and the process is straightforward. Besides the CNC-cut cork, an LED lamp, a set of batteries, a power switch and other materials form the flashlight.
The flashlight from Joseph Guerra disassembles into two halves. Inside the torch, you can see its electronics parts, which include three batteries, LED lamp and a control button. The electronic parts are perfectly fit into CNC-milled cavities of the flashlight. The designer has made use of standard electronic components to develop this torch. The cutting process of the CNC cork has been done using computer-controlled systems. And so, the entire process needs less effort, says the designer.
Joseph Guerra, from Atlanta, GA, has been seeking an outlet for his creative energy with a variety of designs. Joining the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009, he currently works hard to sharpen his creativity in designing. The website of the industrial designer lists many of this flagship creative works such as Fragment Bench, Based Stool, Hex Table, Void Box, Void Cabinet, Intersection Table and much more.

Via EcoFriend

Building a spec home is always a risk since the builder is paying for the cost of the home out of pocket and only gets paid when they sell the home. Because of this builders typically build a home in a way that will appeal to the most buyers so that they can sell the house quickly. However one of our customers decided be bold and use cork flooring and other sustainable materials to make their home as green as possible. If the building industry had more people like this our community would not be filled with energy sucking McMansions.

Via Flooring Store Online

It’s great to have the commitment and the courage to live out your convictions and Cece and Brenda have done just that by greening a Airstream, including cork flooring and spreading the message of sustainability one mile at a time. 

They started their journey on 8/2011 and converted an old Airstream using American Clay walls and ceilings, solar panels, eco-friendly furniture and waterless composting toilet. The Airstream is towed by a diesel truck that has been converted to a lean mean veggie oil machine to prove to the people they meet that it is possible to live simply and off the grid.

Cece Reinhardt + Brenda Daugherty.  Our goal is to green an Airstream, turn a used diesel truck into a veggie oil machine and hit the road in complete “off the grid” style.  Our quest to live outside the lines and explore what it means to be sustainable, comfortable and bold has led us here.  Exploration and educational outreach will be our primary objectives…. we seek to partner with businesses, schools and non-profits to promote On the Green Road – driving towards sustainability one mile at a time.  


This vintage cork planter is from the 70’s and I have never seen one that is so, ah…. rustic. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I may be weird but I think this is VERY cool. $20.00 at Etsy. Click Here.


%d bloggers like this: