Smog-eating building features   Fiandre’s Active ceramic surfaces

Smog-eating building features Fiandre’s Active ceramic surfaces

May 2020

For De Castillia 23, one of its greenest and most innovative projects, the integrated design company Progetto CMR chose Fiandre Architectural Surfaces as its partner.  TSJ reports.

Designed by the integrated design company Progetto CMR in accordance with modern sustainable principles, De Castillia 23, owned by Unipol Group, is a building complex for the advanced tertiary sector dedicated to individual and collective well-being.

It is an ambitious project combining sustainability, innovation, and functionality, which is why the firm chose partners who are equally committed to improving living spaces for people. In fact, it teamed up with Fiandre Architectural Surfaces, which designed customised solutions including the use of Active photocatalytic ceramics.  These are special self-cleaning, anti-odour, anti-pollution, and anti-bacterial surfaces providing 24-hour anti-bacterial protection, even in the dark.

The project was implemented using the BIM method by collecting, combining, and digitally connecting all relevant construction data together, with the aim of bringing an old abandoned building back to life.

Progetto CMR made conscious choices, turning it into an example of sustainable architecture: the prismatic façade with triangular glass windows adds character to the complex and gives it a dynamic look while providing ventilation, whereas the photovoltaic and geothermal systems produce energy and heat without releasing pollutants into the atmosphere.

The materials used are in line with this green philosophy: porcelain stoneware is durable and sustainable, does not use up the planet’s resources, and is produced by Fiandre, a company that reincorporates processing waste back into the production process.

The design consulting services offered by this Iris Ceramica Group brand concerned cladding, specifically on the façades, balconies, outdoor flooring, and external columns. 

For De Castillia 23, Fiandre developed tailored solutions, such as the Granitech ventilated façade system with visible anchoring brackets, which ensures that buildings have a long life, as well as wall durability and energy efficiency.

Anti-bacterial Active ceramics from the Core Shade collection were used, in Cloudy Core Active and Sharp Core Active textures.  When air, humidity, and light (natural or artificial) are present, the surface of these tiles becomes oxidized, which degrades the hazardous pollutants that come into contact with it, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), with huge benefits for those who live in the building and in the neighbourhood.

The Chemistry Department of the University of Milan has estimated that the 16,088 sq. metres of special Active tiles installed for this project, can counteract 59 kg/year of nitrogen oxide, equivalent to over 200,000 sq. metres of green space.  These numbers are the reason why De Castillia 23 is referred to as the ‘smog-eating’ building.

By contrast, as stated by the R&D team of Progetto CMR, the 2,000 sq. metres of green spaces surrounding the building absorb approximately 12 tons of carbon dioxide and produce 9 tons of oxygen per year.

The Active products also have another property, which is now even more effective: since they are used on external façades and are, therefore, continuously exposed to light and weathering, for example due to rain, dirt is less likely to adhere to the surface of the tiles, which makes them easier to clean by simply using water and mild detergents, with no need for toxic or expensive chemicals.

Fiandre’s expertise is also reflected in its waste-free design and, in this case, 1,200 by 600mm was selected as the main format, optimising the way in which the ceramic material was cut so that the whole porcelain stoneware tile could be used without any waste.

Great attention was paid to detail during installation,including 45o shaped corners for all edge pieces on the building, with different finishes, either smooth or rough depending on their specific function.

As for the interiors, Progetto CMR made sure to allow for more natural light.  Here, once again, porcelain stoneware tiles by Fiandre made the difference.  The Fjord collection, in the Dusty colour, was chosen for the bathroom tiling due to its anti-slip and easy-clean properties.  These are essential in spaces where hygiene is of paramount importance.

“Fiandre is honoured to have partnered with Progetto CMR in creating De Castillia 23,” says Federica Minozzi, CEO of Iris Ceramica Group.  “With our Active 2.0 ceramics, which recently obtained the European patent, we have made a substantial contribution to a very important project.  The synergy achieved with the Progetto CMR firm allowed us to accomplish what we really care about: well-being for people and the planet.  This project fully rewards the ongoing research carried out by the Group’s R&D team, and by the University of Milan, our partner in developing innovative and environmentally conscious state-of-the art design solutions.”

“De Castillia 23 is an opportunity to give new life to a building located in an area of Milan that is the beating heart of the new architectural skyline,” explains Massimo Roj, CEO of Progetto CMR.  

“This innovative, fully sustainable project has strengthened our partnership with Fiandre Architectural Surfaces, allowing us to create a truly unique project.”

De Castillia 23 is a building that highlights the ability of the Fiandre brand to work alongside leading Italian and international architectural firms in order to research solutions tailored to customer needs, while constantly focusing on its social and environmental responsibility.

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