I must admit, up until recently I wouldn’t have looked on cork as a must-have material from a design perspective. But then I started coming across cork used by designers as an alternative to leather (something I’m always interested in) as with the Canadian brand Matt & Natt, who fashion cork into bags and clutches as part of their fantastic vegan collection, and most recently with the Australian brand Herzog whose very cool cork collars are on my wishlist for Harris.
And now there’s a new cork product range to add to the interiors wishlist. The Cork Collection is the first range to be launched by the new British lighting brand NOVE. NOVE was founded by the interior stylist and designer Kirsty Saxon, who has combined cork with solid brass elements to form a beautifully refined and elegant collection that includes The Marbled Wall Light, The Marbled Pendant, and The Marbled Light.
As Kirsty says: “My designs have been born from my years of outdoor styling trips for clients to Portugal, and subsequently falling in love with the natural beauty of cork. I am very passionate about these cork lights and proud of their origins. Each piece of cork is individual, and by using raw materials they all have slight variations in form and colour, which is part of the character of the natural hand-made elements making each light unique. It has taken nearly two years from concept to design, and eventually production, to make sure everything was perfect.”
Every cork body of NOVE’s lighting has been produced using hand-harvested cork, which has then been handcrafted by a Portuguese family-run cork business who have specialised in manufacturing cork for over 50 years. Cork is one of the ultimate sustainable materials. The Cork Oak tree (or Quercus Suber L) has very special characteristics. The bark of the tree is the cork, and this is harvested from early May to late August when the cork can be separated from the tree without causing permanent damage, so the tree will continue to live and grow through harvest after harvest.
Cork harvesting is done without machinery, using only a small sharp axe in the skilled hands of the harvester. As well as being a natural, lightweight and elastic material, cork is biodegradable, renewable and recyclable.
“Our aim is to develop a mix of unique, timeless and hand-crafted lighting, with a strong emphasis on quality craftsmanship,” Kirsty says, and by layering cork with brass, this first collection also has a strongly contemporary aesthetic. I love the interplay of textures here, with the organic form of the cork juxtaposed with the luxe brass finish. Each of the lights comes with a choice of colours for the woven cable: either black, khaki or old gold.
The collection also features The Seamless Bracket – an innovative engineered solid brass wall bracket that’s used to display the wall lights – while the ceiling pendants feature a steel ceiling rose that’s been powder coated in a matt black finish, again with brass elements.
The collection will soon be expanded with the addition of a blackened burnt cork light with sandblasted brass and matt black powder coated accessories – which sounds gorgeous, frankly. As Kirsty says: “Every light has been made with labour and love, touching the hands of many skilled artisans. We want to celebrate these people, their craft and their stories that help create our beautiful and unique lighting.”
All photography from NOVE.
See the collection here.