Tile, Technology, and a Trans-Atlantic Love Affair

I admit it, I am in love with all things Italian.  It began rather early as my Mom is Italian (Italian-American to be PC,  her family has been here for several generations), so it’s not a huge revelation.  But I simply love the food, the language, the way of life (those afternoon naps!) the countryside, the wines (Prosecco is so much less pretentious than Champagne) the clothes, the men, their sense of style, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Gucci, the shoes (!)…ok I think you get it.  So, when I got an invitation to the grand opening of the Graniti Fiandre showroom at 314 Superior in Chicago, of course I was going to go.  Are you kidding?  A chance to see a bunch of Italians in their business finery?  (No worries here, I am very happily married!)  Oh wait, and they are introducing their new line of tile!  Always good to know about new products coming out.  Yes, that’s it, I went to see the new product. 

Along with a great looking showroom and some really beautiful tile- some that mimic wood or marble- they introduced their new line of tiles called Active. 

 white tile with grey veining
Active tile= Calacatta Gold

 It’s a really innovative “green” product.  They’re antibacterial tiles AND they reduce the polluting agents that are in the air.  Ok, gear up for some technological talk here.  The tiles are made with titanium dioxide- the same stuff in toothpaste and that white stuff that lifeguards put on to keep them from burning up.  Anyway, through a process of photocatalysis (photo =light, catalysis- I don’t know, something to do with cats 🙂 ) the tiles actually clean their own surface as well as the air in the room!  The process is activated by light and water- something like photosynthesis (remember from grade school science class?) except that it takes pollutants and bacteria and renders them ineffective.  Pretty cool huh?  The tiles can be used indoors as well as out.  One of the examples that they gave last night was that having approximately 260 sq. ft. of these tiles has the same air cleansing effect of having one tree in the same space. 

Think about how that could affect your home.  Let’s say you use these tiles on the kitchen floor.  Not only will it clean the air but it is sanitary- it even kills e-coli bacteria!  How cool is that? How about the bathroom floor, or the kids’ rooms?  I can see a lot of applications for it.  Plus, they’re quite beautiful.  Some mimic marble or granite. 

Although I might be just a teeny bit biased about anything from Italy, I think that this is one really amazing technological advancement that will promote the idea of building materials pair of hands holding the world in itbeing environmentally friendly by not just being non-harming,  but actually contributing to the health and wellness of its users!  Bravo Graniti Fiandre!

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