Ecological furniture, sustainable and beautiful. It even makes you smile, in the case of CactusNext, and whoever conceived and produced them dreams of seeing them also in schools, public offices, stations. Anywhere, for a ecological furniture which, by filtering the "bad fumes", gives everyone an optimal quality of air and life. Alberto Cigada, president of the Master's Degree Course in Design & Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano, has promoted the creation of the spin-off NextMaterials, where these Cacti are born.
1) CactusNext: what product is it?
They are objects of ecological furniture, environmental purifiers in corrugated cardboard designed by NextMaterials, a spin off of INSTM (Interuniversity Consortium for the Science and Technology of Materials), able to clean up the environments in which we live.
NextMaterials has acquired patents on the treatment of corrugated cardboard filters and with some designers has developed the idea of transforming filters into ecological furniture, aesthetically beautiful as well as functional.
2) How did you get the result?
Thanks to the introduction inside the cacti of a filtration system capable of breaking down bacteria and various pollutants, primarily those produced by cigarette smoke. The system hidden inside the'Ecological furniture consists of very quiet computer fans that circulate stale air inside a corrugated cardboard filter, properly treated, and illuminated by ultra-low consumption UV LEDs.
3) What technologies were used?
There is the surface treatment of the object of ecological furniture, to increase the carton's ability to mechanically lock bacteria and solid particles and then the use of chitosan to avoid bacterial colonization. The third is the use of titanium dioxide which, thanks to the presence of ultraviolet LEDs, oxidizes most of the chemical species produced by photocatalysis cigarette smoke and food cooking (NOx, VOC, etc.). In addition, the photocatalytic filters, inserted in these objects of ecological furniture, maintain their effectiveness over time.
4) Why did you choose cardboard?
Corrugated cardboard is one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly materials, suitable forecological furniture. It has always been recycled. Furthermore, its "pipes" are particularly suitable for filtering the air that passes inside them. Modularity, transformability, flexibility and above all eco-compatibility are traditional characteristics of cardboard which, with innovative technologies, can be functionalized allowing new applications. Many in theecological furniture.
5) What developments exist for this product?
It is clear that the developed treatment could find important applications in the air conditioning systems of hospitals, schools, hotels and apartments. Eco-friendly furniture to take anywhere, not niche.
6) How was it received by the market?
The purifiers have had an excellent response, so much so that we have to force us to reorganize production. While having an absolutely sustainable cost, the craftsmanship and above all the technology included in the object of ecological furniture ensure that product positioning remains medium-high. Our goal is to be able to see the CactusNext or Next Filters as elements of ecological furniture even in public environments, from schools to offices, from hospitals to hotels, to ensure high air quality for as many people as possible.
7) How and where can you buy a cactus?
On our e-commerce site and in various points of sale mainly concentrated in Northern Italy, precisely because the main exhibitions and events where we presented this novelty of ecological furniture took place in Milan. Our reality is still small, the production is artisanal and we do not yet have the resources to make the leap into the large market ecological furniture. In addition, most of the proceeds return to research precisely to stay in line with the objective of NextMaterials: transform research into innovation.