Vertebral Chair Shows The Possibilities of Cork

TriFold is a flexible self-supporting cork composite developed by Erika Cross that brings an entirely new model of cork construction and possible new applications for this natural material. Using TriFold as the primary and defining construction element, she designed the Vertebral chair to demonstrate the possibilities of her new material invention.

Named after its mono-spine stainless steel frame, the Vertebral chair emphasizes TriFold’s strength, versatility and unique aesthetic appeal. The fully functional flat pack chair uses only cork’s inherent friction to secure its TriFold seat to the base. The design has one several awards including the  Core77 Student Furniture and Lighting Design Award and has been featured at ICFF.

Material Process Behind the Product: 

In addition to cork’s ecological credentials, it has a long list of impressive inherent properties – biodegradability, compressive cellular structure and low density. These features suggest a diverse range of applications, however the use of cork hasn’t evolved far beyond that of the conventional wine stopper.

With a personal belief that effective and meaningful design begins with material consideration, Erika Cross was determined to discover a way of adding tangible value to cork as a raw material. Many experiments later, she sat taping together a cork sheet bent beyond its limits, and discovered what would later become TriFold. The tape, acting as a live hinge, relieved the cork of tension, yet when bent in on itself, remained ridged. She soon discovered that reducing tile size for increased flexibility did not compromise the material’s compressive strength, which opened a world of possibilities for the material.

Since it’s introduction, TriFold has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and publications. Continually in search of new applications and products, TriFold has been produced for various bespoke projects and installations, primarily as acoustic paneling and interior wall coverings but also in chair designs such as Vertebral.

Through the exploration of new manufacturing techniques and an eye to the future, Cross hopes to one-day offer TriFold as an innovative substitute for standard industry applications on a more commercialized level.

TriFold is part of Materia’s collection and you can find more specifics about the material here.