Architects and designers increasingly seek eco-efficient materials and solutions that ensure quality and comfort without harming the environment. Combining ecology and performance, cork is one such product and has tremendous potential in the fields of urban construction, rehabilitation and outdoor areas.


All over the world, a growing proportion of people lives in cities. Big or small, old or new, cities are becoming our natural environment. According to the United Nations, about 55% of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, and it is estimated that this percentage will rise to 68% over the coming decades*. By 2050, two thirds of the world population will live in urban areas.


In this context, it is imperative to increase the quality of life in urban centers, both in terms of comfort and in terms of environmentally friendly solutions in new buildings, rehabilitations, and outdoor spaces. Cork, as a renewable natural raw material that plays an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gases, is gaining momentum in the area of sustainable and ecoefficient construction, mainly due to its thermal insulation properties and acoustic and vibration control capacities.

EVERYTHING BEGINS IN NATURE Cork is a natural, 100% recyclable, renewable raw material obtained from the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber L.). This oak species whose bark (cork) regenerates itself is mainly found in Southern Mediterranean countries and North Africa, and has an average lifetime of 200 years. Portugal is the leading cork-producing country, responsible for over 50% of total European cork production.

Studies indicate that for each ton of cork produced, the cork oak forest can sequester up to 73 tons of CO2**, and thus helps to reduce the Global Warming potential and contributing to the goal of carbon neutrality in the cities.

CORK’S NATURAL BORN TECHNOLOGY Cork consists of a honeycomb structure, including thousands of microscopic cells, filled by an air-like gas and coated primarily by suberin and lignin. Suberin is the element that makes cork impermeable to liquids and gases, allowing it to age without deteriorating.

In addition to its insulation capacity, cork has a series of other characteristics that enable a broad range of applications in building construction. It is lightweight, with high flexibility and compressibility, resistant to moisture, friction and abrasion, and has thermal, acoustic and vibration insulation capacities.

SAFER AND MORE ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUNDS – CORKEEN BY AMORIM Given its positive contribution to outdoor and leisure areas, urban parks and playgrounds, cork can be used as a safe, stable and sustainable surface, due to its main characteristics: lower surface temperature, impact absorption, odorless, drainage capacity, lightweight, fireretardant and hypoallergenic.

Additionally, its resilience creates a cushioning effect, which makes floors extremely comfortable for walking and standing. But, more than comfortable, playgrounds made by cork need to be safe.

The playground industry in Europe has defined children’s safety as one of the top priorities. To reduce the risk of severe injuries, EN1176 & EN1177 has been introduced to the market. EN1176 is the European Standard for play equipment and surfacing. It regulates criterias within the playing area. One of these requirements is the need for safety surfacing below playground equipment.

That’s why Corkeen is the revolutionary surfacing system for playgrounds. As a safe and stable surface, it complies with EN1176 and EN1177. Corkeen system has been tested by Labosport in France according to EN1177 and has passed those tests, receiving certificates on system thicknesses from 40-135 mm.

The use of playgrounds encourages the construction of social and intellectual skills through increased interaction. It enhances group dynamics among children, in a learning and recreational environment, including, in many cases, the involvement of the family. These surfaces are typically installed in schools or outdoor parks and must incorporate the natural world around them, fitting into their environment.

PlaySmart UK has spent almost 20 years operating as the leading innovator in surfacing for play, leisure, and recreation

If you are planning a public, community or school play area, a landscaped space or even a roof top garden with a surfacing element then PlaySmart can support you. All solutions have been teste

For more information please visit our website or contact us on or 01564 742 811