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In an installation by artist Leonor Antunes

Wicanders at the Venice Biennale, evoking architecture for the Arts

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The 57th International Art Exhibition by “La Biennale di Venezia” opens to the public on May 13th and the Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes will be on the spotlight, with an installation right at the core of the Arsenalle historical estate. A cork floor by Wicanders is a key part and parcel of that work, which evokes the role of Italian architects Carlo Scarpa and Franco Albini in the refurbishment of several museums and other buildings with artistic features.

“Viva Arte Viva” is 2017’s moto for the Venice Biennale and Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes decided to resort to cork in her creative work, by choosing Wicanders’ Corkcomfort flooring collection to apply over the 100 m2 of her new installation.. This particular work results from her long research about Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978) and his Milanese friend and colleague Franco Albini (1905-1977), who, together, radically changed the way in which recent generations visit certain museums.

“They both worked in museum refurbishments in Italy, dealing with religious, renaissance and medieval art collections”, says Leonor Antunes. “My visits to several of those museums became the starting point for this new installation, where some of the pieces are inspired by patterns and other elements that Scarpa and Albini used in their renovations”.

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Wicander’s premium floor by Portuguese manufacturer Amorim Revestimentos will thus present itself in the Arsenalle complex duly engraved, according to the pattern created by Carlo Scarpa for the Brion Tomb at San Vito d'Altivole Cemetery, in Treviso. The architect had then chosen copper and stone for the mausoleum’s main corridor; Leonor Antunes now enlarged the scale of those lines and applied them on cork, for a more natural and warmer feel.

Hanging over the floor from Arsenalle’s ceiling, sculptures and lamps will reinforce the unique appeal of Portuguese cork with an artisanal combination of brass and leather, along with other materials that the artist selected not only from her home country, but also from Germany and Italy.

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High-tech, expressive and versatile

Being Amorim Revestimentos’ premium brand, Wicanders uses Corktech technology in its products enhancing them with cork’s natural properties providing five major benefits: more silence, more warmth and a bigger resistance to impact and erosion, which, in turn, generates greater walking comfort and a general improvement in body wellness. By adding to these scientifically proven results a wide range of visuals and colors, covering from natural cork or dark wooden textures to the lightest shades of stone and marble, Wicanders presents itself as brand with sustainable products with the potential to serve multiple uses, express different feelings and create distinctive environments.

For Pedro Maria Pinho, Marketing Director of the worldwide leading company in flooring solutions with incorporate cork technology, the new installation by Leonor Antunes reflects “the increasing trend among artists, designers and architects to entrust this natural product with the materialization of their creative and professional visions”.

When the choice is left to public institutions, cork also proves to be gaining ground as a responsible, efficient and aesthetic option. “Museums and hight traffic public building from different countries in the world, such as Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, have been choosing Wicanders’ floorings for their buildings”, observes Pedro Maria Pinho. “That alone is a statement on the quality of our products, their versatility and their potential to adapt to any given indoors environment, whatever its purpose or decorative style”.

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About Leonor Antunes

Born in 1972 in Lisbon and living in Berlin since 2004, Leonor Antunes’s design work is known for its affinity with modernism and its specific geometrical patterns, as well as for shapes and structures which were particularly valued by architects and designers of the early 20th century. Her work is Mathematics, measures, scales and the beauty of certain proportions nourish her work, which establisehes a dialogue with the spaces it occupies, either by the way in which her pieces echoe the surrounding architecture or by the way she uses the proportions as a tool to develop each new installation.

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About Wicanders and Amorim Revestimentos

Wicanders® is the premium brand of Amorim Revestimentos, which has been producing flooring solutions since 1868, always inspired by Nature’s values. The company uses avant-garde technologies that allow it to deliver a high quality product with an ecological performance and a contemporary aesthetical elegance.

With its headquarters in Portugal, Amorim Revestimentos is the world leader in producing and distributing floors incorporating cork and has sustainability as the starting point for a better future. That's why it focuses on researching and developing solutions that, without harming the environment, may ensure their users a higher quality of life.

The company is currently present in 67 countries and its portfolio reveals that it has been entrusted with the confidence not only of anonymous consumers, but also of internationally respected public and private institutions, that recognize Amorim as an indisputable pioneer in high performance ground-breaking solutions.

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About cork

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus Suber L.). Every tree takes 25 years to create its first mature cork outer-shell, but, from then on, every nine years that material can be removed from the trunk through a manual procedure which causes it no harm. In fact, that extraction helps the regeneration of the tree itself.

Among cork's unique properties are its light weight, its impermeability both to liquids and gases, its elasticity and its thermal and acoustic insulation abilities. Actually, one cubic centimeter of cork includes 40 million cells grouped as a honeycomb, each one of them working as a miniature set in terms of temperature and sound insulation.

This raw material is also a fire retardant and highly resistant to abrasion. But, most of all, is it completely biodegradable, recyclable and renewable. Actually, cork's forest in Portugal covers over 700.000 hectares of land and the official estimations indicate that, every year, that green presence is responsible for retaining 5% of the national CO2 emissions, therefore absorbing a total of 4,8 million tons of carbon dioxide.

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