Design Within Reach may be too expensive for some of us but their annual cork furniture design competition is affordable for all. One of the best parts about this design challenge is its broad accessibility: no specialized tools, structural knowledge or design experience are required.

Some entrants work extensively with the natural character of the constituent materials – cork and metal wire – while others work with their existing shapes and forms. Still others go off the beaten path and rework the materials entirely. The results are a mixture of creative modern, offbeat and faux-elegant that are both inspiring and entertaining.

Of course, cork can be reused on a much larger scale as well. The above cork furniture is just on example – people are also finding new ways to use cork for walls, floors and other surfaces and sturctures. As long as we have an abundance of one kind, shape and size of material, it makes sense to find new and different ways to reuse it when its first purpose is finished.