The health benefits of ceramic tiles in different living spaces | by Jürgen Mayer
Sports facilities and swimming pools
Health, fitness and well-being are key aspects of a contemporary lifestyle and reflect the importance of a good work-life balance. Sports and fitness programmes are either organised as group social events or focus on personal training. The large number of high-quality architecture and interior design projects that have been carried out using Italian ceramic tiles the world over testifies to the boom in investments in health and fitness facilities, including sports centres, fitness and yoga workshops, thermal and leisure pools, saunas, wellness studios, spas, hotels and resorts, and private swimming pools. In an increasingly digital world, real wellness oases can help relax the body and mind and restore strength and energy.
In this sector, atmosphere is everything: materials, surfaces, colours, light and acoustics all contribute to creating successful environments. And thanks to their creative and design potential and their technical properties, ceramic and porcelain tiles are particularly suitable for use in health and wellness projects.
Available as extra-large sizes or mosaics, with matt or glossy surfaces, floral or graphic decorations, natural stone or wood finishes, retro motifs and smooth or three-dimensional surfaces, tiles offer endless scope for composition. Collections produced in a wide range of sizes, shapes and colours and with matt or glossy surfaces can be used to create individual projects in keeping with a given design concept. And complementary elements such as steps, edging, gratings, corner tiles and gutters ensure a consistent overall result.
The term “swimming pool” has positive associations for most people. Some may think of a state of deep relaxation, while others dream of intense exercise in the water. Sports facilities and swimming pools are experiential venues that present architects and interior designers with a variety of challenges, both aesthetic and technical. The constant presence of condensation and water – whether salty, fresh or thermal – increases the risk of fungi and mould. And the design of places intended for barefoot use is subject to strict health and safety regulations.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles can meet all of these requirements. They are extremely easy to clean, and if necessary can be provided with antibacterial finishes. They can also withstand continuous treatments with disinfectants and cleaning agents. Waterproof and non-slip surfaces designed specifically for high-traffic and intensively cleaned areas meet the safety requirements of indoor and outdoor swimming pools, showers, toilets, reception areas and changing rooms. Surfaces with very low porosity prevent bacteria from depositing, while frost-resistant non-slip tiles are available for outdoor use.
Thanks to their strength, scratch resistance, resistance to corrosion and chemicals and durability, ceramic and porcelain tiles are sustainable products that can make a valuable contribution to the maintenance and cost-effective running of fitness and wellness centres.
Private spas and barrier-free bathrooms
In private houses and apartments, private spas and barrier-free bathrooms are becoming very popular for a home wellness experience. Generous proportioned surfaces allow for ease of mobility, while floor-level showers are popular not only with older people but with family members of all ages. Non-slip surfaces assure a high level of safety. Floor and wall tiles can be installed seamlessly in the shower area, resulting in a perfectly consistent appearance. If necessary, some series of tiles are available in a variety of non-slip classes. Porcelain covered shower and bathtub seats further enhance comfort. There are no limits whatsoever to the design of large walls and floors with ceramic and porcelain tiles. By integrating high-end designer bathroom fittings, taps and accessories, it is possible to create aesthetically pleasing bathrooms where the measures to eliminate architectural barriers can only be observed upon very close inspection.
Hospitals, clinics, surgeries
In the field of medicine, mental and physical prevention measures are a highly topical issue. In the event of illness, it is necessary to have a network of medical practices, health centres, hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centres to treat and rehabilitate patients. These healthcare facilities must meet the needs of patients, doctors and nurses: patients need to feel reassured while doctors require a safe, functional and well-equipped working environment.
Today’s hospitals and clinics adopt the most modern technologies and therapies, while an increasing number of operations are being performed on an outpatient rather than inpatient basis. The need for professionally equipped operating theatres has multiplied with the emergence of certain techniques such as laser treatment, and this has also led to stricter flooring requirements.
The importance of a healthy architectural environment for the healing of the body and soul has been amply demonstrated. The space should be quiet and contemplative rather than stimulating, clear and efficiently structured, well-lit and ventilated, and harmoniously designed in terms of colours and materials. In particular, materials need to be healthy, easy to maintain, durable and resilient without producing harmful emissions. This is where ceramic tiles come into their own, especially for the busies areas of the sanitary sector, while also standing out for their sophisticated aesthetics and uncompromising functionality. An appropriate choice of materials can reduce the risk of dangerous transmission of germs, bacteria and viruses. The continuous passage of medical equipment, hospital beds and food trolleys also means that rugged and easy to clean floors are essential. Ceramic floors are highly resistant to abrasion and scratching, they are stain-resistant and non-flammable and they last virtually forever.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles are also ideal for use in therapy pools in hospitals, spas and rehabilitation clinics. Because water not only serves for relaxation, sport and fun but is also the ideal aid for rehabilitating muscles and regaining movement in the case of disability or after trauma.
In the field of private practice, more and more doctors are keen to personalise their workplaces. Along with medical expertise, the surgery environment also helps to create a good image, especially now that reviews of medical services are increasingly being posted on social media. Waiting and treatment rooms with a positive atmosphere usually have an obvious – and in some cases subliminal – impact on all the senses and the well-being of patients and clients. Ceramic and porcelain tiles offer a wide range of design options for creating an individual style while at the same time meeting hygiene and safety requirements. The floral motifs of nature have a calming effect, wall surfaces serve to attract attention and uniform floors and walls can make even small surgeries look much larger.