We interviewed Carlos Veloso dos Santos, CEO of Amorim Cork Italia, on their new collection of recycled cork furniture that was presented at Design Italy’s Fuorisalone 2021 at the beautiful setting of L’Alter Bar.
Turning unwanted things into beautiful things.
I asked Carlos Veloso dos Santos, CEO of Portuguese company Amorim Cork Italia, a world leader in the production of corks, to tell us about his new mission in the world of design with the new brand SUBER and a collection of furniture made from recycled corks. He tells me all about it.
CV: Investing in natural materials and sustainability has always been my goal. Around the world, 25 million corks are produced each day, making for a total of 5 to 7 billion each year.
CM: What is the process to reuse them?
CV: I signed an agreement with a shredding centre to transform them into granules, a secondary material used to produce moulded products.
CM: You’re Portuguese, and Portugal is one of the largest producers of cork. What brought you to live in northern Italy?
CV: Italy is the home of design, and producing furniture and decorative objects seemed the obvious choice. I found a producer in Vicenza that prints the mix of cork granules and glue, yielding excellent results. We then started producing our first collection.
CM: How do you collect the corks?
CV: We involved some non-profit organisations that supply them to us.
CM: Was a designer involved in creating the collection of furniture and accessories?
CV: Jari Franceschetto designed the entire collection and brought our ideas to life. He’s a creative director with roots from the island of Sardinia, a region that traditionally produces cork.
CM: How would you define your company?
CV: I would say that it represents an exemplary model of industrial ethics: turning unwanted things into beautiful things, and using collected materials for solidarity projects. This philosophy inspires each of our initiatives.
CM: Any future plans?
CV: An exhibition in Conegliano, where we’ll exhibit a large table we created in collaboration with Riva di Cantù, a company that specialises in processing reclaimed wood. The table will have a top created with wood from the 42 million fir trees uprooted by Mediterranean storm Adrian on 28 October 2018. The cork and iron legs will be created by our new brand SUBER.
CM: An ethical declaration?
CV: I would say so, because the table beautifully combines two natural materials that were destined to be thrown away.