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These Sculptural Tables Are Made From One of the World’s Most Sustainable Materials: Cork

The Clover collection from Grain features side tables and coffee tables made out of this renewable and carbon-positive material.

Grain Design Cork Collection Ben Blood

Playfulness, sustainability and fine craftsmanship are at the heart of Grain’s new Clover collection. The Seattle-based, three-person design studio released their latest collection in New York at Jean Lin’s design co-op Colony, where the side tables and coffee tables were on display. The Clover collection is designed in the shape of four-leaf clovers, a shape Grain has used in the past. 

The Clover collection is uniquely made of cork, a durable, renewable, carbon-positive and biodegradable material. This is the brand’s second all-cork collection, which comes after the company recently received its B-Corp certification. While cork might seem like an unexpected material for a high-end furniture piece, it’s exceptionally resilient and full of texture that adds more layers into any space. Not just that, but it’s antimicrobial, antibacterial and lightweight.

The collection features two tones of cork: the classic light-hued cork and a darker color achieved via a toasting method to turn it dark brown. The toasting—which isn’t just a stain but goes all the way through the piece—hides all imperfections of the Grade B cork that would otherwise be relegated to a scrapyard. By using this grade of cork and this toasting method, they are able to turn waste into a functional piece of art. The four-leaf clover is a favored emblem for Grain that represents both an organic, yet architectural form. 

Grain Design Cork Collection
The collection features light-toned cork and toasted cork, resulting in this sumptuous dark brown hue. Ben Blood

“The more time we spend with these pieces, the more delighted we are by the relationships of the four leaves coming together,” says Grain co-founder, Chelsea Minola, who founded the studio alongside partner James Minola. “You experience new compositions depending on your view. I am also struck by the richness of the dark brown cork. It gives off this very grounded and earthy feel that is echoed in the soft hand of the surface texture.” 

Grain is a climate-neutral design practice that is committed to sustainability. The founders began working with cork after realizing that the ecosystem wasn’t disturbed by harvesting the material from cork oak trees. The company works with a family-run cork business, and puts much time and energy into the innovation and technological research of using cork in this way.

The collection is available in both light and dark, all dark or all light side tables and coffee tables. Prices range from $1,450 to $8,850 and feature a range of styles and designs.

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