An opportunity to exhibit a piece at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, where the keyword for the furniture pieces showcased was ‘extreme’, led to Danish designer Rikke Hagen deciding to create a chair made from one of the most extreme materials she knows: cork. At the same time, the chair is the outcome of a prolific collaboration between designers.
Meet Bark. Bark is the latest brainchild of Danish designer and founder of HAGEN ETC., Rikke Hagen, who designed the oak cork lounge chair for the danishdesign MAKERS stand exhibition at the Stockholm Furniture Fair 2017. The lounge chair is made out of one of the most captivating materials to work with, according to its designer.
“I am extremely fascinated by cork as a material to be used for furniture and larger objects. We are used to cork in smaller objects but when working it into large-scale pieces, the textural characteristics of cork emerges. Cork is an all-natural material with unique properties. It is light. It is impermeable to liquids and it is elastic, compressible and highly abrasion resistant. It provides thermal and acoustic insulation, and is even a fire retardant. Furthermore, it is completely biodegradable and recyclable”, says Rikke Hagen.
The originators of the exhibition, danishdesign MAKERS, comprise an alliance of designers of different nationalities and backgrounds, but all with strong ties to the Danish design culture. To danishdesign MAKERS, the key Danish design values are honesty, simplicity and function, and how these values reflect the beauty of the outcome is what binds the exhibitors together. MAKERS believe that design is first and foremost a practical subject and is best kept this way. They continue this tradition, and let a hands-on experience define Danish design and tell its story. To Rikke Hagen, the alliance is also vital for the development of the design business.
“The consortium of danishdesign MAKERS, where we try out different experiments and prototypes, in contrast to how we usually work with specific briefs from manufacturers or the like, is a very healthy way for the whole design business to improve, I believe. And in my opinion, there must be room to do this for us to develop and sweep our own and others’ toolkits to create the best designs”, says Rikke Hagen.
According to Hagen, Danish design is deeply rooted in understanding craftsmanship, materials and an honest approach to form and function. It is defined by thinking that we can improve our lives by going further. Hagen believes that we owe this legacy to people who dared to think innovatively, within an industry willing to take a risk. And regarding the dare to create and to put Bark into production, Hagen states that she has already received actual interest in the chair, but no concrete plans have been made yet.
“At the moment, I just feel like working even more with oak cork. If you only think of cork trivets, it quickly becomes a dull material, but if you use it in the right way, where the oak cork feels right at home, the material shines in a completely different way”, ends Rikke Hagen.