The COVID-19 pandemic has reimagined the world like never before. Its pervasive impact has been felt on Interior Architecture and Design Landscape as well. With India having entered into Unlock 5.0, the impact of COVID-19 on the Architecture Industry has led to the rise of new trends to adapt to the crisis and emerge resilient in the post-COVID- world. With people spending a majority of time indoors, they are increasingly mulling ways to redesign, renovate and redecorate their homes. Here are a few ways how COVID-19 is redefining the Interior Design and Architecture Landscape in India.
Social Distancing as the central theme of space planning: With the vaccine against coronavirus in the trial phase, social distancing has emerged as a panacea to reduce the transmission risk of the pandemic. It has become the dominant theme in space planning, circulation and programming of homes, offices and public spaces. Gated communities and condominiums that ensure adherence to social distancing will come into vogue. Social distancing will also reinvent the building design of low-income neighbourhoods to comply with the architectural recommendation of distance. The interior architects and homebuyers will now plan more meticulously- be it materials, supply, timeline and details of the process before implementing design projects.
Cleaning and sanitization to become a priority: High-frequency touchpoints such as handrails of staircases, knobs of taps entail great risk of transmission of germs and micro-organisms. This concern will herald a shift in the choice of materials for kitchen and toilet. Copper for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, anti-microbial lamination for cabinets, granite and quartz for countertops will be in high demand. The stringent cleaning needs will also fuel the demand for automated cleaning devices such as vacuum cleaners, UV disinfection devices for cleaning personal belongings and edible items will also gain currency.
Dedicated office-spaces at home have become the norm: With the majority of professionals working from home, the segregation between work and household has become a concern. This has led to the redesigning of homes with a distinct workplace zone. In most cases, an extra bedroom or living room has been converted into an office space. The emergence of offices at home has also given a fillip to the demand for ergonomic workspace furniture such as workstation, chairs and tables.
Health and wellness as an objective of interior design: Health and wellness concern is a potent impact of COVID-19 on the architecture industry. This will prompt redesigning homes with retreat corners to pursue hobbies such as reading or gaming. The Scandinavian colour palette, consisting of a combination of white, beige, grey will be in vogue. These colours promote a bright and airy environment especially in cases where homes are surrounded by high-rise buildings. An obvious extension of health and wellness will be felt in natural lighting and cove lighting and soothing fragrances and textures. Taking cognizance of the significance of health and wellness, Google, in partnership with organizers of ‘A Space for Being’ exhibition, demonstrated the impact of rooms designed on neuro-aesthetic principles on the human mind and physiology.
Circular and biophilic designing in homes: COVID-19 has underscored the significance of sustainability and living in harmony with Nature. The impact of COVID-19 on the architecture industry has given way to the concept of circular and biophilic design. The circular design concept uses waste and scrap like cardboards, recycled plastic to build useful products. Alexander Schul, a German designer, has created the Substantial Furniture consisting of a lamp, chair and side table made of recycled plastic. Similarly, potted plants in balconies and living spaces will become a norm as they are associated with wellness and prosperity. The ‘Elle Decor at Work’ exhibition demonstrated the significance of greenery at workplaces to improve micro-climate and ensure well-being.
Private Outdoor Spaces: COVID-19 has reaffirmed the significance of private outdoor spaces in homes, especially when people are spending long hours at home. The incorporation of a simple patio, balcony decks and kitchen gardens in homes as places to unwind and relax amid the tranquillity of Nature will be among the dominant trends in this space.
Multifunctional designing to gain currency: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to homeowners evaluating design from a value proposition perspective. This factor has given a fillip to multifunctional equipment like All- in -One Breakfast appliances in kitchens, as well as furniture like platform beds with drawers, for saving space as well as ensuring cost-efficiency.
Proliferation of Technology and Home Automation: The use of technology to ensure efficiency and speed in managing household chores have added a new dimension to interior design. With people juggling household chores and deliverables at work, home appliances equipped with cutting-edge technology make their lives convenient. Contactless technology at homes will also ensure adherence to social distancing norms. Smart toilets with sensor-based taps and touch-free solutions, use of voice-based services such as Alexa will become common in homes.
Indigenization of the design process: The disruption of global supply chains and the advantages of skilled labour, cost-effective operations in India, has positioned it as the next manufacturing hub. The thrust on ‘Aatma Nirbhar Bharat’ and the ‘One District One Product; Scheme will encourage indigenous production as well as designing, and propel the Indian designers on the global centre-stage.
Increased demand for interior design courses and revamping of curriculum: The COVID-19 may lead to the emergence of new trends and sub-disciplines in Interior designing courses across India. The COVID-19 pandemic will also pivot the focus towards the organized sector due to its ability to offer superior customer experiences. Best colleges of interior design are now mulling to revamp and restructure the curriculum to incorporate new trends such as sustainability, Make in India, Home automation and also to ensure the seamless programme delivery through digital mode. With Unlock 5.0 coming into effect, students are now gearing up for the upcoming academic sessions to pursue interior design courses in Delhi – the hub of design education.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a milestone in redefining Interior Architecture and Design and will ensure a promising future ahead for those pursuing courses in interior design.