features
#068 / 2005
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Rome - ancient city of modern, eco daycares

A year ago, Rome was home to only one eco-friendly daycare centre. Today, this renowned city of art and culture takes care of its young children in 35 eco daycares. Thanks to the support of the enlightened Unicoop Tirreno and the municipal government, Cinque Libera Tutti was the first to open in October 2004, in the Laurentino Cooperative supermarket on via Laurentina.

Named Cinque (five in Italian) for our five senses, its interior was designed with the help of recent architecture graduates from Rome's University of Sapienza. The pastel-coloured area is divided into five spaces, each emphasizing sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. The ergonomics of the furniture carefully match the needs of the centre's children, who range in age from 18 to 36 months. To ensure the children's safety, no metal hardware was used, and natural materials for construction (wood and wool fabric) and play (plants, modeling clay and sand) are incorporated. Solvent-free and eco-compatible paints and finishes were used in construction.

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The contract for the furnishings was awarded to Tuscan furniture manufacturer Mobilificio Fattorini, situated in Barberino Val d'Elsa (between Florence and Siena). The company has specialized in eco-friendly furniture for more than 10 years and is certified under the Green Home label promoted by the region of Tuscany (see furniturelink issue #048 and issue #049).

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Fattorini is committed to the production of eco-friendly products, especially for children, as they are susceptible to environmental pollutants in their formative years. Furniture production at Fattorini eliminates solvents and other harmful chemicals that can contribute to allergies, respiratory problems and, in worse-case scenarios, hinder cognitive development. They use certified solid wood and apply traditional dovetail jointing methods for their chairs, tables and beds. Cabinets and some chair frames use multi-layer plywood certified E1 (very low formaldehyde). Stains are derived from vegetable dyes, while surface finishes are formulated from natural waxes and citrus oils that are formaldehyde-free. Beds are supplied with pure cotton futons, and bedding and pillows are also 100 per cent natural.

This move to provide young children with a healthy environment is now spreading in Italy beyond Rome. In recent months similar proposals have been advanced in Tuscany for the cities of Monteroni d'Arbia and Montalcino. Canada and the rest of the world would be taking better care of their young children with a similar, modern approach to daycares as exemplified by this most ancient of cities.

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© furniturelink 2005 (text) images © Mobilificio Fattorini