Photo via Bisazzablog.com
What if renovating your bathroom took a click of your mouse? Or what if tile was applied with magnetic paint, removing the need to smash it out to replace one broken square (annoyingly labor-intensive, expensive, and wasteful)? Last week in Bologna, Italy at tile show Cersaie, Marcello Becchi, director of business development for Trend USA, the U.S. arm of Italian tile manufacturer Trend, told me that this Jetson-flavored future is closer than we think: Tile as we know it could drastically change with technology currently under development. Trend, which recently launched a major focus on green, is currently experimenting with magnetic paint, which could make bathroom renovation as easy as a positive and negative charge. A technology already patented, the paint would be applied to both the wall and the tile, making stripping one single tile or all the tile much, much easier, Becchi explained.
Wallpaper by Trend composed of glass mosaic tile containing up to 80% post consumer recycled glass. Photo courtesy of Trend.
But when I asked if magnets were the future of tile Becchi mentioned something else: software.
Imagine changing the color and pattern of the tile lining your kitchen, bathroom, or floor on a daily basis.
Since many renovations start on personal taste (think putrid green from the last home owner or the landlord's love for sterile, dirt-showing, blinding-white that would be better served in a hospital), computer-programmed tile--although not yet available--could really save tons of waste from landfill. In fact, it would revolutionize the tile market as we know it. Who would need to produce tile then?
Becchi is unconcerned: "We have too much tile anyway."
Trend produces both green mosaic tile and tile wallpaper that can be applied towards LEED points with up to 75 percent post-consumer content. TreeHugger was at Cersaie tracking down green tile and green trends as the guest of Ceramic Tiles of Italy.