Philipp Weber: Suberin

Participating in Villa Noailles’ tenth anniversary of ‚Design Parade‘ Philipp was asked to present a project focusing on the material cork. The festival took place in ‘Hyères’ in the french region ‘Var’. Var used to be an area renowned for cork cultivation, however with the rise of the Oil Age, cork has increasingly been substituted by synthetic materials. The culture of harvesting cork has become an endangered one. A three-week material investigation studies the cork oak’s precious essence ‚suberin’.

Cork, which is harvested from a special type of oak, is a very versatile material. It’s history tells a story of harmony between human and nature. In regions where cork is cultivated the environment gains huge benefits from the trees. Since the decline of cork cultivation various animal and plant species are threatened.

Within this short term project Philipp became fascinated by the abundance which the cork oak offers to us. Foremost he became interested by the cork’s ability to glue itself under certain conditions.
This characteristic of the material only reveals itself when the cork is exposed to high pressure and heat.
After the cork is cut into pieces, it is pressed between two metal moulds. The material is then baked and expands inside the mould. At a certain temperature the cork releases its own biopolymer ‘suberin’ – a waxy, water repellant substance. This natural plastic binds the cork pieces together. When opening the mould afterwards the material has taken it’s negative shape.

Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin Philipp Weber: Suberin


Client: Villa Noailles – Design Parade 10
Design Concept: Philipp Weber
Photos: Philipp Weber

Share this project