Healthy Materials for Yacht Interiors
Healthy materials in yacht interiors?
A number of innovative products and materials now exist in the marketplace that promise added wellness benefits, be it in a home, office or hotel. This is in a sense an evolution of a previous shift towards sustainable, natural materials. For more detailed information about our preferences for sustainable materials and healthy materials on a yacht or superyacht interior, see our dedicated materials page here.
While the latter has had a modest impact on the yacht sector, for example in the Sunreef Eco Luxury Catamaran collection with its non-toxic hull paint or the flax-laminated hull of the Baltic 68 Cafe Racer , there is as yet very little sign of the healthy material trend making its way into the world of yacht interiors.
We believe this represents an untapped opportunity for enhanced sustainability and wellbeing in yachts, not least because of the potential integration of marina-based bio materials (see this page for more on our materials strategy).
The Covid crisis has only served to bring all of this into the mainstream public’s attention as there is now a far greater appreciation of hygiene and the concept of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) that there was as recently as December 2019.
Wellness materials in interior design
Flooring is one of the key product categories in this healthy interior trend, for obvious reasons. Western cultures, unlike say Russia or Japan, typically have less strict social rules around wearing outdoor shoes indoors, meaning dirt and bacteria from the streets have an easier time making their way into a residential carpet for example.
We will address the topic of indoor air purifiers in a separate article, focusing here instead on ancillary products that aim to perform a main function, such as comfortable flooring underfoot, whilst also bringing additional benefits such as
Air-purifying carpets for yachts?
The Desso Airmaster carpet tile by US giant Tarkett is a perfect example of what is happening in the commercial office market today in terms of air-purifying flooring. Why office interiors and not yacht interiors you may well ask?
Offices are primarily places of work, staff are first and foremost there to be productive and staffing costs are invariably a business’s largest overhead, therefore anything that can move the needle of productivity, even if by 3-5% for example, represents a tangible value-add for corporations, well worth a carpet upgrade in other words.
Sustainability first, health benefits second
Importantly, the Airmaster is first and foremost a sustainably made product with a highly respectable Cradle to Cradle certification and an EcoBase backing as standard. In terms of its functional benefits to users, it captures and retains fine dust particles, in some tests proving to be up to 20 times more effective than smooth flooring solutions. This makes it especially relevant for allergy sufferers.
Finally, it has low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emission properties with minimal PM10 particles – despite the name ‘organic’, VOCs are the bad guys as they are mildly toxic. Taken together, this makes the Desso Airmaster a viable contender for a yacht refit carpet option.
Milliken’s Breathe range of flooring is GreenGuard certified for its low chemical emissions, made of natural or recycled fibres from plastic bottles and has a plant-based water repellency component that is fluorine-free.
Milliken have ensured that the carpet is completely VOC-free. We’d love to see the Breathe range deployed in a yacht interior for just these reasons.
Anti-bacterial & eco-friendly floors or walls
Active Surfaces by the Iris Ceramica Group in Italy go perhaps one step further with their ceramic porcelain wall or flooring tiles that come packed with anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-pollution and anti-odour properties.
To achieve this, natural or artificial (e.g. LED) light and humidity present in the air contribute to eliminating 99.99% of bacteria and contagious viruses that settle on the tiles.
What’s more, these ceramic tiles are 100% recyclable and most are produced with more than 40% recycled content in zero emission factories. The tiles are certified by ISO 10678, ISO 27447 and ISO 27448.
Indoor paints with air-purifying qualities
Healthy wall paints are another high-growth sector we have our eye on, with brands such as Gush from Singapore bringing out a product called Cair that actively attacks airborne pollutants with catalytic reactions that break down VOCs such as formaldehyde and odours into harmless by-products such as H20 and O2.
It is anti-moulding, making it suitable for bathrooms or spa rooms, as well as anti-bacterial – in other words it eliminates 99.9% of infection-causing bacteria such as E. Coli, according to Gair.
Gush focus on a purely residential market with an at present limited product range while, closer to home here in Europe, Airlite from Italy have more products on the market already and offer indoor, outdoor and primer solutions, giving them more of an in-road into the architectural and industrial paint sectors.
Again here, the paint claims anti-bacterial, anti-mould and anti-odour properties. Airlite products are also non-toxin, VOC-free, some have air cleaning properties and are produced using 100% renewable energy.
Healthy materials for curtains
Swiss company HeiQ has produced a curtain fabric that IKEA has bought for wide-spread distribution throughout its network under the product name ‘Gunrid’. The HeiQ Fresh AIR is a mineral-based technology uses transmitted ultraviolet (UVA) light from the sun to convert VOCs into harmless CO2 and O2, just like the Gush Cair mentioned above.
Eco sustainable beds with benefits
Italian brand Cassina’s Bio-mbo bed is made of patented materials developed by their in-house research lab to reduces VOC emissions in the air combined with an eco-friendly and recyclable thermal insulator in the headboard that absorbs sound reverberation to help improve sleep quality.
This is a great example of a designer brand adopting an innovative position on materials with added wellness benefits, whilst still committing to the underlying tenet of sustainability.
If you would like to discuss how we could implement some of the interior design strategies outlined above in your yacht interiors, contact us here.
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