"Hi! I’m Gabrielle a Final Year Product Design Student at Ulster, and I have spent my last year creating ‘Korkki’ a sustainable solution to unnecessary furniture waste. My aim this year was to create a project that would spark conversation about the lack of sustainability within our own society and the way in which we view furniture – that being as fashion rather than design.
Over 20 million tonnes of furniture waste is thrown to landfill annually in the UK, an ever-growing problem calling for resolve – this is where Korkki comes in. My solution is through furniture made mainly from Cork – an undervalued sustainable resource - as well as having devised an accompanying application, to tackle the educational aspect needed to change the behaviours of our society. The material choice of cork, whilst unusual, offers reams of benefits that many modern materials lack, such as it is entirely biodegradable, decay resistant and aids in reducing global warming through harvesting, all whilst having the same efficacy as traditional hardwoods. Korkki also re-ignites an otherwise lost emotional attachment to our furniture by provoking personal memories and anecdotes through the choice in form – inspired by the contours of our very own Slieve Donard – as well as the personalisation choices available at purchase. The accompanying app allows a platform for likeminded people to collaborate on upcycling projects whilst making the tools and knowledge they need to live more sustainably easily accessible to them. The app has four main areas Community, Marketplace, Tutorials and Inspiration, covering all aspects needed to successfully challenge socially irresponsible behaviours towards furniture design and interiors.