Dezeen Magazine

Hella Jongerius combines cork and felt for striped rug collection

NeoCon 2015: Dutch designer Hella Jongerius used unconventional materials and assembly methods to create these vividly striped Cork & Felt rugs for Danskina.

First introduced in Milan last year, the Cork & Felt collection became available in the US for the first time this spring and was shown at Chicago trade show NeoCon.

The rugs are 65 per cent felt and 35 per cent cork, which combine to create a floor covering with the texture of fabric and the durability of cork.

Cork rug by Hella Jongerius

Jongeriuslab, the designer's Berlin-based studio, groups the felt into five colour categories: warm reds, cool blues, pastels, high-contrast colours, and neutrals.

Within those categories, the felt strips are randomly combined with the cork, creating variation within an industrialised process and making each Cork & Felt rug unique.

Jongerius has long been interested in combining elements of craft with mass-produced goods. Earlier this year, she released a manifesto calling for a "new holistic approach to design".

The randomised patterns of each rug are anchored by solid blocks of coloured felt at the top and bottom of each rug, to prevent the cork from chipping. The strips of felt and cork and attached to a polyester backing but not to each other, allowing the rugs to be flexible.

Cork rug by Hella Jongerius

In addition to using natural materials, felt and cork are both rapidly renewable. The rugs can be made to any length with a maximum width of three metres (nine feet, 10 inches).

Jongerius is the creative director of rug specialist Danskina, which is jointly owned by textile companies Maharam and Kvadrat. She has also designed numerous textiles and wall-coverings for Maharam, which was acquired by American furniture giant Herman Miller in 2013.

She is one of a number of designers using cork in furniture and homeware design. Ilse Crawford chose cork to create many of the items in her range for Ikea, while others have used it to make clocks, sofas and even a sound-insulating helmet.

NeoCon 2015 took place from 15 to 17 June at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The event also saw the launch of Herman Miller's "hackable" foam office system and a collection of African-inspired textiles by David Adjaye.