Many times over the course of history, architecture has found itself facing important challenges in design, called up to offer a concrete response to critical situations in society and the environment.
The discussion underway at the present time about the energy transition and renewable energy sources casts light on an aspect of key importance for the present and the near future: the need for a more sustainable way of living capable of protecting the environment and the community in the best possible way.
Going beyond mere slogans, architecture and design have been seeking real solutions for improving quality of life for many years, as demonstrated during the Covid-19 epidemic of the past few years.
Cleaning and sanitisation of spaces and surfaces have become particularly important aspects of our culture and our everyday lives.
The direction taken by interior design is above all sustainability, leading designers to venture into the fields of research and technical innovation in the area of materials.
These are considerations that can no longer be postponed, and demand long-lasting results.
One of the best examples is offered by the Iris Ceramica Group
, a world-renowned name in ceramics and interior design.
The group began to focus on sustainability decades ago, fine tuning its innovative ACTIVE SURFACES®
method for creation of high-performing technical ceramic surfaces
sold through the group’s many brands
ACTIVE SURFACES® allow ceramic surfaces to contribute to the creation of healthful, protected, comfortable spaces which can be enjoyed to the utmost, in the home, the workplace, and commercial and public premises.
ACTIVE ceramics stand out for four important properties:
anti-pollutant, as they purify the air of harmful substances;
anti-bacterial, eliminating 99.99% of all bacteria and viruses, destroying 94% of “the SARS-CoV-2 virus (responsible for Covid-19) in only four hours of exposure to low intensity UV light", according to a study conducted by the joint technical and scientific committee of two departments of Milan University;
self-cleaning, in that the slabs reduce the need for use of cleaning products which are not only expensive but harmful to humans and the environment.
What makes Active work is the process of oxidation triggered by photocatalysis, a natural reaction which can be accelerated by the presence of one or more additional components. In the case of ceramic surfaces, this is titanium dioxide (TiO2) fixed at ultra-high temperatures.
In short, in the simple, natural presence of light (natural or artificial), along with moisture and air, TiO2 triggers photocatalysis, through which "a high concentration of hydroxyl radicals forms on the surfaces of ACTIVE ceramic to eliminate harmful microbes".
This performance has obtained important ISO certification
of the materials’ anti-viral and anti-bacterial action and ability to prevent the formation of moulds and fungi.
These properties are also active in the presence of LED light, under poor lighting conditions and even in the dark, thanks to the combination of titanium dioxide with silver.