Mar 29 2021

Function and design against germs and viruses

At the latest since the start of the Corona pandemic, it has become abundantly clear how relevant the topic of prophylactic hygiene actually is. And not only in clinical areas, but also in everyday situations. We present hygiene-optimised furniture.

Safer in everyday life with new hygiene concepts 

Wherever many people come together, the risk of transmitting pathogens by droplet or smear infection increases. While viruses, according to the current state of research, can only survive on surfaces for hours or at most a few days, bacteria and other microorganisms are able to remain there for several months and multiply during this time.  

To minimise the risk of disease, some furniture companies are working on different hygiene approaches. In addition to the development of hygiene stations for public spaces or drawers with integrated UV disinfection modules, there is also initial furniture that minimises the risk of infection through functional design and coherent surface concepts. 

All hygiene in one place 

The new brand has developed a hygiene solution that convinces on the one hand through purist design, but also through functionality and takes on the new everyday challenge: the Station 1 hygiene furniture. 

The modular hygiene station was developed in collaboration with designer Carsten Gollnick especially for busy areas such as lobbies, trade fairs or shops. With a total of six different units, all made of sustainable FSC and PEFC certified Compact Density Fibreboard, Station 1 can be combined into a hygiene island in just a few steps. 

The hygiene system offers dispensers for face masks, paper towels, wet wipes, disposable gloves as well as a waste module and end profile. In addition, the station can be supplemented with a top module with mirror and a safezone carpet with a 1.5-metre-wide protective space. 

As an industry partner, Kusch+Co furnished a sample patient room as part of the KARMIN research project. Chair Arn was the focus of attention: hygiene experts thoroughly tested the mechanical cleanability of its plastic and aluminium surfaces and awarded it top marks. © Kusch+Co

Seating comfort, hygiene and aesthetics 

But what constitutes hygienically optimised furniture? "In essence, there are several points," says Ingo Bandurski from Kusch+Co. Firstly, it is about minimising gaps; especially when joining individual parts, there must be no dead spaces in which deposits become bacterial breeding grounds due to insufficient cleanability. 

Too small radii of inner edges also make disinfection more difficult. The second point concerns the materials and their surfaces, which must not be absorbent - the furniture manufacturer achieves this through pore-closing coatings or dense laminates. "In the Arn chair range, we use self-sealing upholstery technology; the seat cover is invisibly attached and prevents moisture or dirt from penetrating the upholstery foam." 

Seams, in turn, are designed to be wipe-optimised, which makes cleaning much easier. In general, all materials used have to be resistant to intensive disinfectants such as O2 releasers or virucidal agents. Because even the hygiene-optimised design of the products does not save regular disinfection - but it facilitates it and improves the result.

Plug & Play - the uncomplicated installation of the UV disinfection module from kalb Material für Möbel GmbH can be installed in furniture series production or retrofitted into existing furniture. © kalb Material für Möbel GmbH

Hygiene-optimised furnishing in the home 

How can you integrate even more safety into your own home? For example, by using a UV disinfection module. The module, developed by the company kalb Material für Möbel GmbH, can be included in furniture series production right from the start or retrofitted into existing furniture.

The disinfection module is equipped with eight high-performance UV-C LEDs. The LEDs are installed on a galvanised technical support, which is flat and space-saving. The electronic control system also ensures safe operation: Should the door or drawer be opened unintentionally while the process is running, the UV system switches off immediately and the process is reset.  

"Due to the pandemic, the demand for the module has once again increased significantly," explains Hans-Ulrich Kalb, Managing Partner kalb Material für Möbel GmbH. "Whereas the initial situation of our development was not a possible pandemic, but the general wish of our customers for a furniture solution to improve the hygiene situation in the domestic environment. 

Our idea, a compact module for simple and quick installation in furniture, met with great interest. Especially the kitchen and bathroom area as well as the integration of the module in hotel rooms are currently in the focus of our customers."

Author: Bernadette Trepte

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