Over the past few months, the lockdown caused by the coronavirus crisis has profoundly changed our habits and our perceptions of space and time: the deserted streets, the pleasantly deafening silence, the passage of time marked by a gentle rhythm that our world had forgotten.
In just a few weeks, millions of people have experienced a radical change in their way of thinking about and living in their spaces. The beginning of 2020 has seen the birth of new technological needs and social changes that have influenced the way we consider our domestic space. With the rise in smart working, for example, homes are no longer simply private spaces dedicated to rest and family but workspaces too; therefore, they need to be organised and furnished accordingly.
A home is often seen and designed primarily as a space to return to at the end of the day, with the bedroom area as a focal point of the architectural concept. But during this era of home quarantine, that approach to home design does not necessarily provide sufficient comfort and well-being. The organisation of the space and the style of furnishing must be reconsidered – and porcelain stoneware floorings should be included in the design.
The current public health emergency has seen the birth of new needs and the rediscovery of old ones, especially inside the home: from the need for greater comfort and well-being, to the need to live in a healthy and hygienic environment with clean air and a reduced amount of allergens.
Casalgrande Padana’s Bios Ceramics® line is an innovative collection of bioactive ceramics, an environmentally friendly product that autonomously interacts with the environment to spark a series of chemical and biological reactions capable of bringing down bacteria levels, pollutants and traces of dirt or impurities on the tiles. These porcelain stoneware tiles therefore are able to improve the quality of the indoor or outdoor micro-environment where they are situated.
Bios Self-Cleaning is an innovative façade cladding solution, designed and developed to ensure high self-cleaning and pollution-abatement performance for architectural envelopes.
There are a vast array of possible applications and many structures and architectural projects, all over the world, for which porcelain stoneware tiles equipped with Bios Self-Cleaning® technology can be used for façade cladding.
Bios Antibacterial® meanwhile, boasts the ability to eliminate 99.9% of the four main bacterial strains present in confined environments – Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa – as well as high performance against mould, yeast, and other bacterial growth.
Another development of the past few months is that outdoor spaces like balconies, terraces, verandas, patios and gardens have become green again, full of potted plants and flowers, climbing plants and little vegetable gardens. In the future, they may become genuine centres of social interaction, with architects working to restore them to a prominent and functional role.
Limpha is Casalgrande Padana’s response to that necessity: a porcelain stoneware tile collection that draws inspiration from climbing plants to transform wall tiles into elements of natural beauty. Its wide scope of application and exclusive technical features (frost-, abrasion-, and wear-resistance, light fastness, and flexural strength) make the porcelain stoneware of the Limpha collection suitable for both interiors and exteriors. Its use of Bios Self Cleaning® technology helps to improve our quality of life by reducing pollution and improving air quality.
In the near future, we may also see movement away from densely-inhabited urban areas and back to the countryside, the hills or the mountains: it is plausible that many abandoned villages will soon return to their ancient splendour, and the rural areas of the country will be repopulated.
Casalgrande Padana responds to these new and changing needs with a versatile product well-suited to diverse architectural scenarios. Its wide variety of colours, sizes, surfaces and décors make porcelain stoneware a universal material, well-suited for both the renovation of existing structures and the construction of new ones: from building envelope technology with façade cladding and ventilated wall tiles (where porcelain stoneware guarantees thermal insulation and weather protection), to experimental solutions to improve functional performance of architectural surfaces to combat the effects of air pollution (bioactive ceramics), to solutions for safety flooring and the removal of architectural barriers (Tactile). These products are also well suited for use in any part of the home, from flooring to interior walls, and thanks to the larger size of the Extragres 2.0 (20 mm), even outdoor walkways on balconies and verandas.
The Covid-19 crisis will also force us to rethink our urban spaces and the functionality of public areas, in a way that meets citizens’ needs and adapts urban areas to become more ecologically sustainable in order to better support society, health and well-being.
Bios Self-Cleaning® is an innovative solution devised and designed for façade cladding, able to enhance building shells with excellent self-cleaning performance and an impressive ability to remove pollutants: in the presence of sunlight, Bios Self-Cleaning® triggers a reaction able to destroy not only bacteria, but above all pollutants present in the air and to decompose dirt deposits, which are washed away from the tiles’ surface by rainwater, thanks to the superhydrophilicity of the ceramic surface. Using Bios Self-Cleaning® over a façade surface of 1000 square metres purifies the air as much as a wooded area as big as a football pitch. It also eliminates as much nitrogen oxide as that emitted by 70 cars throughout a full day. There are a vast array of possible applications and many structures and architectural projects, all over the world, for which porcelain stoneware tiles equipped with Bios Self-Cleaning® technology can be used for façade cladding.
Civil engineering, urban planning, architecture and design must all come together to face new challenges including the reinforcement of essential social distancing through the reorganisation of spaces. Infrastructure like airports, metros and stations, as well as recreation areas and parks, must be reimagined in a way that lets us live our daily lives in safety and comfort.
For this, Casalgrande Padana has created the Tactile porcelain stoneware collection, which includes a guide system: a useful way to break down architectural barriers and allow the visually impaired to orient themselves and follow their path without the need for additional guidance. Tactile is ideal for use in many spaces: along beaches, in metros, in airports, in railway stations, in transit areas in swimming pools and gyms, and other general applications. Additionally, in heavily-trafficked urban areas, where crowding poses real dangers to people’s health, it can also be used as signage indicating safe social distances.
After the pandemic, our homes, cities, workplaces and gathering spaces will never be the same. The current crisis has already changed our behaviour, and will continue to do so for a long time. This all means that architecture and design, as interpreters of human needs and desires, will take on an ever greater importance by redesigning spaces to comply with the new requirements of our society. In particular, by analysing the parameters of a project in terms of proxemics, our urban and domestic spaces will be redesigned.