Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Cork is a material best known for preservation. It salvages our delicate wines when the air would otherwise spoil them, would have kept our memos safely tacked onto it’s board - if not for the invention of email - and when utilized by Daniel Michalik, helps sustain our environment.

Based in Brooklyn, Michalik has developed a highly-evolved design of cork furniture that reuses the non-toxic material to create a handful of different items including the Cortiça chaise longue and the Sway stools. Indeed the reuse of materials is one argument for green design, but besides that, a Cork Oak tree lives for 200 years. After it’s approximately 25 years old, the cork can be stripped off of it’s trunk every nine years.

But not only is a cork tree long-lasting, the material it sheds is buoyant, elastic, and fire resistant. This is no secret to Michalik who says, “Knowing that cork is naturally 100% waterproof, I decided to tackle a little experiment. With two intrepid stunt pilots, I took the shop chaise down to a local beach, and rode it right out into Buzzards Bay! Floats like, well, a cork—only more ergonomic.”

All of his designs are handmade from reclaimed waste material directly from the bottle-stopper industry. Naturally, all of his furnishings are non-toxic, made with a marine-grade adhesive and a small amount of polyurethane that makes indoor or outdoor use possible.

The Cortiça chaise is full-sized at 72” x 20” x 26”, making it spacious and comfortable besides being buoyant. It’s form balances itself to support your weight while offering a certain amount of pliability to allow for rocking and relaxing.

With a solid cork central column and perforated sides, the Sway stool was designed to do exactly as its name suggests. It leans slightly with the natural movement of your body and even adds to your health by calling upon stabilizing muscles that help to keep good posture and circulation. Many who own a Sway stool give it’s use as an office chair substitution rave reviews.

If an investment in cork comes as temporary delight in bottle form, the streamlined innovation of Michalik’s cork furnishings will prove both satisfying and long-lasting.

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