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Corticeira Amorim and experimentadesign present City Cortex

Corticeira Amorim and experimentadesign have unveiled City Cortex, a new programme that explores the sustainable potential of cork through the vision of five international design and architecture studios. The results of this multidisciplinary initiative will be presented in New York at the end of the first half of 2020.

Corticeira Amorim and experimentadesign presented their new shared project, which follows Metamorphosis in 2013 and MATERIA in 2011, at a press conference in Lisbon in the presence of George Glass, the US ambassador to Portugal. 

The research for the project this time focuses on themes related to sustainability, climate change and the dynamic landscapes of 21st century cities.

The City Cortex programme will investigate the intersection between contemporary urban contexts and cork, one of the most versatile and sustainable materials that nature has to offer. New York has been chosen as the city where this research will be presented and the five guest studios are the architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Gabriel Calatrava and Leong Leong, and the designers Philippe Starck and Sagmeister & Walsh.                    

Through the contributions of these internationally renowned creators, City Cortex will create original works for the urban spaces of New York City. The projects will be based on in situ research into the potential of the cork produced and prepared by Corticeira Amorim. 

City Cortex perceives cities as living, dynamic systems, similar to biological organisms, focusing on the great challenges of the 21st century, to which issues like mobility, safety, comfort, protection, sustainability and the management of raw materials are of the utmost importance.

In addition to the creation of cork pieces designed for use in public and semi-public spaces in Manhattan, City Cortex will undertake historical research into the use of cork in the US during the 20th and 21st centuries. This research will also take into account the commercial ties that have developed between the US and Portugal, based on a relationship in which Corticeira Amorim has always been involved.

City Cortex studies contemporary cities in all their different dimensions and will actively intervene to improve the day-to-day lives of the people who live in them. Reflecting this, the main objectives of the programme are to:      

  • contribute to expanding the use of cork, a natural and sustainable material, in urban contexts;
  • increase awareness of issues relating to sustainability and the development of contemporary urban landscapes; and      
  • inspire innovative thinking that draws on ideas and interconnections that make a positive and useful contribution to our experiences as a community and to our interaction with the natural world.

The results of the programme will be presented in 2020 in three complementary formats. In the urban spaces of Manhattan, people will be able to explore the pieces designed by the guest studios. There will also be an exhibition illustrating the creative process involved in the making of each piece, where visitors will be able to examine maquettes, drawings and other items.

The information produced by the programme will be shared on City Cortex’s website (



The City Cortex project is founded on the need to update our cities, taking into account climate change and other problems, including mobility, safety and social issues, inspired by the potential of a natural material such as cork.

- Guta Moura Guedes, chief executive and creative director of ExperimentaDesign.