Cities as forests, buildings as trees: New bioactive treatments transform buildings into living plant organisms



When eco-design meets science, the result is Laminam, large ceramic surfaces which revolutionise the concept of living.


In addition to its vitrified surfaces’ inherent characteristics – resistant to various kinds of common, everyday stains (such as coffee, wine, lemon juice, oil, make-up) and bacteriostatic (inhibiting the growth of microbes and bacteria) – Laminam has developed Ambience, a range of optional treatments aimed at raising levels of hygiene and cleanliness even further.

Laminam surfaces treated with Ambience mark an epochal shift: buildings that behave like living plant organisms, by neutralising harmful substances in the air and releasing oxygen. The new bioactive treatments also strengthen the bacteriostatic qualities intrinsic to Laminam surfaces, and cleaning is made easier, whether indoors or out, reducing environmental impact and the costs of standard maintenance.

The future is here and it is far from dystopian.

New building treatments created with Laminam Ambience in collaboration with research institutes and leading companies in the field of innovative technologies, radically change the outlook in the fight against pollution in cities. These new treatments provide a tool for almost totally eliminating the presence of bacteria, mould and mildew on Laminam surfaces, reinforcing their intrinsic bacteriostatic properties.

“Our new line of bioactive treatments fills us with pride. We are offering it to both the architecture and interior design market,” explains Alberto Selmi, Laminam’s CEO. “Laminam’s mission is to transform the visions and creativity of architects, designers, companies and clients into reality, by providing them with distinctive, natural, recyclable, sustainably manufactured surfaces. But being sustainable also means seeking to drive positive change which will benefit the whole of society. With Ambience we aim to be one of the agents of that change, building a better world for the generations to come.”

The new Laminam treatments mean that all buildings – from the smallest private dwelling to the biggest public structures – may behave like living plant organisms. “Sunlight triggers a photocatalytic process on the surface of the Laminam finishes, much like chlorophyll photosynthesis in plants. The treatments lead to the production of oxygen and the breakdown of polluting substances present in the air – VOCs, NOx, SOx – transforming them into totally harmless organic compounds and chemical elements,” explains Roberto Pederzoli, Laminam’s Quality Manager.

“If all the buildings in a city were clad in Laminam surfaces treated with Ambience, air pollution within urban settlements would be drastically reduced, with immediate and substantial benefits for the health of the inhabitants,” stresses Pederzoli.

photos @Laminam

Figures provided are impressive. Hotel Nodo in Santiago, Chile, a Laminam-branded first, is an example. It is the first building in South America to actively fight pollution. Designed by Riccardo Stein, an architect specialising in sustainable projects, the hotel is clad in various surfaces from the Legno Venezia series, to which Ambience treatments have been applied. 2300 m2 of Laminam finishes whose colours recall the trunks of trees, and which produce as much oxygen in one year as a 1.5 hectare forest.

Thanks to the sintering process with which they are made, reaching temperatures of over 1200°, and their compact, non-absorbent surface, Laminam ceramic slabs are already intrinsically capable of inhibiting the growth of microbes, bacteria and mould. The large sizes provided by Laminam surfaces also mean a dramatic reduction in the presence of the one critical site in which they could proliferate: joints between slabs.

photos @Laminam

“This is why,” says Pederzoli, “Laminam finishes are the ideal solution for flooring and for cladding any surface, indoor and outdoor, residential or public, as well as for characterising horizontal surfaces such as kitchen countertops, worktops, tables and bathroom furniture.” But for those seeking even more than these already impressive results, Laminam now also offers additional bioactive Ambience treatments which can be applied to most of their catalogue products.

The new treatments act even with limited sunlight or with artificial light alone. Tests carried out by certified external laboratories show a reduction of up to 99.9% in bacteria, mould and mildew. Totally safe for both people and pets, once applied to the surfaces their action is permanent, thus ensuring continuous sanitisation and constant inhibition of the growth of harmful microorganisms, and therefore of the odours they produce.

Cleaning the surfaces is even easier because they increase surface hydrophilic properties and activate a natural breakdown process of the organic compounds deposited there. Indoors, they can be cleaned with commonly available detergents. Outdoors, rainwater is enough, resulting in a radical reduction in the costs of cleaning and maintenance work on the facades.

photos @Laminam

photos @Laminam