ExecutiveChronicles.com | How the Pandemic Will Change the Future of Design | Homes are typically associated with being with loved ones, and relaxation, among others. Offices are where people work, while public spaces are for socializing and making connections. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the concept of these spaces has changed.
The pandemic has forced many businesses to close. Homes have turned into schools, offices, and businesses, among others. Individuals, couples, and entire families are required to stay at home for most hours of the day and avoid public gatherings as much as possible.
SO, how will the pandemic change the way architects, interior designers, and other similar creative professionals design space? Landscape contractors in the UAE share their insights on how a global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can alter how future spaces will look, feel, and function.
The pandemic has changed how people are viewing their spaces. Some are becoming more stressed out, anxious and depressed, as a result of being cooped up in the same area for extended periods. Builders and designers have to change the way they use color in the home to reflect the change in needs.
One potential trend is gravitating towards a more biophilic approach. Designers who take this approach will use colors and combinations that occur in nature. The aim is to mimic the sensation of being outdoors.
Nature has always had an immense beneficial effect on people. Studies have shown that a window that opens towards a garden or the sky can boost morale in the workplace. In a post-pandemic world, the choice of colors can be used to enhance and support the user’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Another potential trend is using colors to promote specific emotions and activities. After the pandemic, more people may choose to study and work from inside their homes. With more functions being conducted inside the home, colors may be one of the easier ways to differentiate the use of certain spaces.
For instance, you may have a space that is reserved for work and video meetings. The look and feel of this room will be significantly different from one that is designed for a college student studying for her finals. Bedrooms, dining, and entertainment areas may also become more distinct.
Designing the ideal workspace
Video conferencing tools make it possible for people in different parts of the city, state, or other parts of the globe to communicate. Because of the pandemic, many meetings, classes, and presentations are now being conducted in rooms inside the house. Most of these spaces are not designed for this purpose and can alter the way your colleagues at work or school perceive you.
Perhaps you choose to do a business presentation in your child’s bedroom because it is the only space available inside the house at the time. Even after removing the toys, music posters, and other visible evidence of who uses the room, aspects such as the paint colors and acoustics can still change your client’s impression of you. After consulting with interior design experts, their perception is that designers will need to consider these factors when creating workspaces inside the home.
The function of the home may change for a lot of people. Some may use their homes for other purposes, such as presenting to work colleagues, conducting class meetings, creating video content, among others. In such cases, designers should suggest the best room to perform such activities and design it for that purpose.
It is not just about the ambiance or making it look like a home office. Designers need to consider factors such as acoustics, lighting, connectivity, even the choice of furnishings that will hold your laptop and other work equipment. The aim is not just to make the space conducive for working but also to support the image you are trying to convey with other people.
Circulation and space planning
Social distancing measures will still apply, even when people start going back to work. In shops, offices, factories, warehouses, parks, and other public spaces, people will be expected to keep their distance. Instead of maximizing spaces to accommodate more people, the design of spaces in the near future will make it easier for people to practice social distancing without being distracting.
Products may be designed to be farther apart. Fewer people may be accommodated inside shops or banks, among others. Even communal spaces, such as hotel lobbies, may feature fewer seats to allow people to sit apart.
Designing with social distancing in mind may get trickier in spaces such as conference rooms and event halls. Traditionally, people talked and worked close to each other to network, share contacts, and ideas. Such a design may need to change after the pandemic to give workers a sense of security.
In some cases, office workers may expect the return of physical and visual barriers, such as partitions between desks. It may look drab and unappealing, but it provides the space employees need to work. This type of setup may even permeate in areas such as the canteen or pantry, with dividers between diners and staff disinfecting seats and tables more often.
Reintroducing the mudroom
The concept of the mudroom is more common in traditional American homes. This is where people leave their shoes and hang their jackets, among others. As outdoor items stay here, it prevents people from tracking dirt or taking any germs and viruses into the home.
Such spaces have become more common during the outbreak. Studies have shown that viruses can stay on shoes and clothing for much longer than initially expected. As such, people have turned to the old ways of removing and leaving articles of clothing and footwear at the door – including face masks and gloves.
The concept of the mudroom may become more useful in post-outbreak spaces, not just in homes, but also in offices and factories, among others. By including a space where people can leave their dirty shoes, it prevents them from taking contagions inside. This reduces the amount of contamination and the need to disinfect the area continually.
Viral pandemics are changing the way people are using spaces. There is no way of telling how things will turn out. But one thing is for sure – being innovative in building and designing spaces will be the key to creating the spaces of the future.
Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.