HBL Profile: Yemi Awosile Studio

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Cork fabric by Yemi Awosile
Textile designerYemi Awosile believes that cork is a material that has been overlooked in the past. She has spent the last couple of years exploring the processes, along with traditional craft and artisan production techniques, that can transform this natural and humble material into something altogether different and very contemporary. WGSN-homebuildlife spoke to her about her material innovations so far.

What inspired you to work with sustainable materials and cork?
I don’t actively seek out sustainable materials but they seem to be the most interesting ones to work with. I’m inspired by the movement of a material from its country of origin to its end user. In 2007 I came across cork by mistake during my MA. I was immediately captivated by this natural material and its background story so I organised a research trip to the heartland of cork production in Portugal. This was funded by the Marianne Straub Travel Prize in 2007 and it allowed me to meet producers and harvesters. I’m fascinated by raw materials in their natural state and the transformative nature of design.

Is it more expensive to develop and produce sustainable products?
When you work on a small scale, it is always more expensive to develop work. If you can find the right production method coupled with the right material then I believe that sustainable products can be a very fair representation of value. This all depends on the product and its context.

WGSN-homebuildlife subscribers can read the full interview here.