MONDAY JULY 12, 2021


If you’ve ever run your hands over a natural cork wallcovering, you may have been surprised how soft and suede-like it felt; there’s something textural and tactile about it. The warmth of this natural product lends itself to just about any design style and connects the interior environment to the natural world outside. In addition to the aesthetic beauty of cork, it’s also a sustainable and renewable resource.

Cork is harvested in Portugal from the Cork Oak Tree’s inner layer of bark tissue. Because only the cork is harvested, the tree remains healthy and can actually absorb three times as much CO2 as an unharvested tree. Cork Oaks are unique in that they can regenerate their outer bark, and over the average lifetime of 200 years, the tree can be harvested over 16 times. These evergreen trees grow to heights of 65 feet, increasing the amount of cork harvested with each interval over its lifetime.

Why does cork make such an excellent wallcovering? Cork is a natural sound absorber, reducing the noise within rooms, creating a quieter, cozy environment. It is also a natural insulator, helping to regulate the temperature within a room. Its surface properties are especially suited for people with allergies, in that it is antibacterial, dust-repellent, breathable, and moisture-repellent. It’s also a beautiful natural material, with its own unique variations. No two will be the same.

Hartmann&Forbes has three different specialty wallcovering series made from cork:

Made of hand-stripped cork, the ALPINE series is reminiscent of snow-capped summits, rich pine forests and glacial meadows brings home the seldom-experienced richness of a soft-to-the-touch wilderness. Available in five colorways. 

The CATHEDRAL series resembles the glossy bark of rain-soaked Aspens in the Cathedral region of the Colorado mountains, this innovative design is created with hand-sliced cork skillfully placed on metallic backing paper, then printed with a design inspired by winter woodlands. Available in six colorways. 

The radiant finish of the LAKE SHORE series is reminiscent of skyscrapers rising up from Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. Hand-peeled cork is backed with metallic paper and hand-blocked with a metallic finish. Available in three colorways.