FL Gaspar

Testimonials

Vasco Costa Simões, Director & landscape architect at FL Gaspar

After more than a decade as Landscape Designer and Project Manager, responsible for national and international landscape architecture projects, for the last five years Vasco Costa Simões has focused is activity on urban public spaces and cities empowerment building happier, more inclusive and resilient communities through Playful Landscapes. Currently a Director at  FLGASPAR – Corkeen Brand Master in Portugal – and Portuguese Association of Landscape Architects representative as Member of CT166 – Portuguese Mirror Committee to CEN TC136 (European Technical Committee for standardization of playground equipment and surfacing, sports equipment and facilities and swimming pools).

  • "Before Corkeen, the selection of a retained fall surface system faced the difficult task of simultaneously satisfying the natural, ecological and sustainable materials option, without compromising accessibility and stability during maintenance."

    Vasco Costa Simões, Director & landscape architect at FL Gaspar

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What are the main benefits of the Corkeen system, compared with synthetic and natural playground surfaces?

Before Corkeen, the selection of a retained fall surface system faced the difficult task of simultaneously satisfying the natural, ecological and sustainable materials option, without compromising accessibility and stability during maintenance.

In large spaces, where it is important to think about a diversity of solutions for these surfaces, in order to maximize their playful value and inclusiveness, we can have enough area to include surfaces with loose and permeable natural materials that can help meet environmental objectives, along with stable and synthetic solutions. However, in the proximity spaces, the smaller area hinders the same diversity of solutions and, if we wanted to guarantee accessibility and lower maintenance requirements, we ended up being reduced to synthetic solutions without a real circular economy and not always permeable, nor comfortable under the sun from southern Europe.

The Corkeen system allowed changing this scenario. It is now possible to have a cushioning surface that is equally safe but also comfortable, permeable, low maintenance, predominantly natural and reusable at the end of life. Without forgetting that cork has, as its raw material, an eminently national material that we all cherish with pride (from the retention of the CO2 it offers, to the circular economy cycle that makes us great as a nation).

Could you please describe Corkeen in one sentence?

A natural material with unbeatable properties, which could only be the product of millions of years of natural evolution, wisely used by the culture of the Mediterranean peoples.

Going toward the goal of carbon neutrality in the cities, how does this subject affect your expertise area?

This matter must call us all, without exception, to action. It is a global objective and only with the involvement of each person, we can rescue the future of humanity.

As cities are the main ecosystem where humanity faces this challenge in the immediate future, namely due to the concentration of the population and the sources of carbon pollution, the public outdoor space is the stage where we will find solutions.

Here we materialize collective initiatives, we affirm ourselves culturally as people, we create communities and habits of life, we recover the vital connection to Nature… here we move, recreate, manifest, find, cultivate and produce our essential goods.

To this extent, anyone who works on projects and works in the urban landscape has to be particularly committed to the objective of carbon neutrality since the impact of their options is amplified in space and time. Most of all, those who are engaged in promoting the happiness, inclusiveness and resilience of our communities have to make especially judicious choices in the scope of their interventions, in light of this objective, not least because they will be working largely with the generations future.

The focus on this objective has an impact on the selection of materials and solutions, but also on the conception and functional design of spaces. It is so important to ensure that we implement solutions with a better carbon balance, such as designing proximity spaces that promote healthy living habits and thus contribute to carbon neutrality.