Jasper Morrison on the artistic process behind his cork sculptures

Jasper Morrison on the artistic process behind his cork sculptures

The British designer opens his first solo show in the US at Kasmin gallery in New York, titled ‘Corks’

The unique, durable nature of cork has long captivated the design world, but few as enduringly as the acclaimed product and furniture designer Jasper Morrison, who has dabbled in making pieces out of cork since 2004.

His first creations, a trio of stools for the first Vitra Home collection named Cork Family, highlighted the pleasing tactility and lightweight nature of cork. Over the years, Morrison has continued to add to the series, which now complete, is in focus at Kasmin gallery in New York. Entitled ‘Corks’, the exhibition also marks Morrison’s first solo gallery showing on US soil.

‘The material I’ve used for the pieces in this exhibition are made from the same material I used back then, so it’s really formed cork block material, made from material left over from the wine bottle stopper production process,’ says Morrison. ‘You can see pieces of wine cork when it’s machined. It’s a great material for both its visual and tactile qualities, but above all, I love what it does for the atmosphere of interiors.’

‘We sourced a lot of different cork block material and most of it was made with a finer granular composition, but this one stood out for its more characteristic appearance,’ Morrison adds. ‘You might think waste material from making wine corks would be cheaper than the granular stuff, but it’s a lot more expensive.’

‘It’s a great material for both its visual and tactile qualities, but above all, I love what it does for the atmosphere of interiors.’

Staged in a domestically styled setting, the cork’s natural beauty and the pieces’ simplicity cut a striking balance. The collection, which ranges from armchairs, a chaise lounge and side tables to bookshelves and even a fireplace, inadvertently casts Morrison’s typically industrially focused modus operandi in an artistic light.

Morrison explains, ‘[the design process] was very different as shapes have to be cut from the blocks so it’s more sculptural, whereas in a more usual industrial process, materials are shaped and objects tend to be more structural.’ §

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