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Amorim and the artist Joana Vasconcelos bring cork to the Venice Biennale

Venice 27/5/2013

Corticeira Amorim's cork products were widely used in the transformation of the "Trafaria Praia", the Lisbon ferryboat locally known as “cacilheiro”, a project by Joana Vasconcelos, which will mark Portugal’s participation in the Venice Biennale. Trafaria Praia will be officially inaugurated as Portugal Pavilion at the Biennale on June 1, 2013 and will be open for public tours, conferences, recitals,… until November 24.

Cork is a genuine Portuguese natural product that was used in the transformation of the ferryboat. Cork’s strong decorative flair and the many advantages it offers, both in terms of technical performance and aesthetic versatility, were added to that artwork. The Portuguese soul is incorporated into the cacilheiro, which addresses the commonalities between the two countries and the two cities, Lisbon and Venice, both strongly marked by the presence of the sea in their history.

The involvement of Corticeira Amorim has arisen from a desire of the artist Joana Vasconcelos, who set as a priority that materials strongly connected with the Portuguese culture were used in the ferryboat. Her choice of natural cork and her association with Amorim, the leading player in the cork industry become, thus, obvious.

Joana Vasconcelos states: "The support of Corticeira Amorim to the Portuguese Pavilion brought cork, a natural product, to the project; cork has an extraordinary potential and is also a distinguishing feature of Portugal in the world."

At the same time, António Rios de Amorim, Chairman and CEO of Corticeira Amorim, puts this partnership into context: “For several years, the creation of strategic partnerships involving natural cork and leading international cultural events has been a priority for Amorim. Our presence in the Venice Biennale, underpinned by the renowned creative leadership of Joana Vasconcelos, will strengthen both the reputation of Portugal and the global competitiveness of companies such as Amorim”.

Cork was given a high degree of visibility in this project and 100 blocks of high density insulation corkboard have been placed in the access pier to the ferryboat. Cork’s decorative qualities are also highlighted in a ferryboat’s structure, which extends and will be used as a bench, providing extra seating to visitors awaiting the next tour.

The vessel’s deck and overhead are covered with cork, including the ship’s rail and its outside. High moisture areas, such as the outside deck, were covered with a cork rubber composite material.

The use of cork in the Trafaria Praia project is another important step in the association between Corticeira Amorim/cork and major international exhibitions. A recent example of this is the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2012 designed by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. These events have allowed Corticeira Amorim to assert cork as an ideal material for iconic architectural works in addition to giving cork an unprecedented projection when used in design projects as, for example, the Vitra Cork Table and BMW-i’s Quiet Motion structure, two cork artworks by the prestigious French designers Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec.