by Maria Laura Berlinguer

Cork oaks, precious beauty

The stunning landscape and high-quality products.

Those trees with broad crowns, with that part of the trunk stripped of its bark taking on a bloody red tint, are only one of the many beauties of the Gallura region, in the northeast of Sardinia. Oaks also ensured the success of one of the most specialized Italian districts: the cork district. The production of very high-quality cork has flourished during years, between Tempio Pausania, the wonderful Aggius, with its granite characterizing the landscape, and Calangianus. A cork that is so famous worldwide, especially amongst wine companies, that the most well-known wineries actually would only trust cork stoppers made in Sardinia. 

From wine to design

Today, new technologies and the study of innovative materials have slowed down stopper production. Still, the incredible versatility of cork and the top-quality of Sardinian cork are fostering new projects. Small and medium enterprises from Gallura’s district provide two-thirds of domestic production and also produce items with many different intended uses. There is the craft traditional intended use of glasses, cases, but mainly that of the cork cutting boards used to bring myrtle spiced roast to the table. The insulation properties of cork, in particular, make it perfectly suitable for the production of sound-absorbing panels for the construction industry, as well as for the production of shoe insoles. 

A natural bent for human well-being

Matteo Congiu, a Sardinian designer who studied at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Cagliari, is fully aware of cork qualities. He knows that its ancient use to maintain wine unaltered derives from its antibacterial and insulating features. Today’s use of cork is mainly due to its antistatic and antimagnetic properties. But it’s also charming to see, its texture immediately reminds its link with the Earth. Cork seems to be made to rock us to sleep. And this is why Congiu shaped it to create the perfect bed, that Design Italy included in its selection of excellent furniture. “Bisu”, meaning “dream” in Sardinian dialect, is not only an elegant design object or a piece of furniture made with high-quality material, but it is also an investment for our health. “If we don’t sleep well, we can’t live well - Congiu says about his creation - the cork structure provides a sort of protective aura all around to get rid of negative vibes”.