Architects and Designers around the world are tirelessly trying to cope with the coronavirus pandemic and now can see some clear trends that are likely to last for a decade. Here are some design trends that we at Surfaces Reporter (SR) think will stay with us for good.
1. HOME OFFICES
During this lockdown, half of the global population worked from home and while few of them already had existing home-offices, many struggled to balance work in the presence of their families. The idea for Home Offices is now a norm and as most of the organizations have already made their peace with it, this trend is sure to stay.
A dedicated space for the need to work is the most evident change houses are to go under. People have been using their study room mostly for home-offices for working from home.
However, having your family around concentration on work in a common space such as a study room is difficult to attain. And even kids need a proper study table as they are also studying online from home.
“Zoom calling is becoming a regular thing now, I see people struggling for good internet connection, and they are struggling to find a good background, kids shouting. So I think the luxury of space will definitely create that workspace in their homes and if it’s small Apartment or even if it's a small studio, people will require that”, recognized Ar Bobby Mukherji, from Bobby Mukherji & Associates in an exclusive webinar of SR.
People want a home office space, specifically with audio-video conference facilities and also built-in garden spaces or patios. In fact, people living in apartments are asking for a work/study area in each room.
Alok Aggarwal, Managing Director, Ozone Overseas Ltd Shared with Surfaces Reporter during a webinar that they have come up with automatic bed that is space friendly and allows people to convert it into wall so that they can work easily and comfortably.
The need for a dedicated space—if not an entire room—just for work with a proper work table, internet connection and desk space has become an impediment to incorporate in the dwellings.
Work from home office | Photo Courtesy: TOI
While, some people may have worked from their bedrooms to have full attention to work, it is likely to become alluding and more distractive. The concentration and productivity issues have increased the role of acoustics. “Our home is very modern, with an open plan. All the spaces flow into each other. So, the acoustics are nightmare, which I never noticed before. I can hear my kids, my dog, everyone while working. It made me think that maybe I would go for more traditional closed spaces,” said Pallavi Dean, Roar, Dubai to Surfaces Reporter.
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Architects and designers are facing growing requests for a home office. As it offers a wholesome approach to one’s life and also helps towards a sustainable future, this trend is likely to last even longer.
Photography courtesy of Branch Furniture
Another change we will see in the office design. Adaptable and multipurpose furniture will trend in offices. Moreover, advanced technology and appliances like motion lights and sensors when entering a cabin or a room, smartphone controlled elevators and AV systems or facial recognition system that limit touching will be in high demand.
Vivek Deshpande, Co-Founder, Spacewood Furnishers Pvt Ltd also emphasized the need for innovative products in the commercial space for both office and public space solution needs on a combined webinar arranged by Surfaces Reporter and Ply reporter
Alok Aggarwal mentioned during a webinar, “We have facial recognition-based access control system for offices which can be integrated with given tools that can detect temperature, record attendance of the person and can check whether the person has put on a mask or not.”
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2. SANITISED SPACES and ANTIVIRAL SURFACES
After these days, we are all going to develop a new interest and sensitivity towards hygiene and sanitization. This will bring many interesting changes inside our homes, with the acceleration of some technologies that actually already existed but were not so common. Some innovative new technologies will also help in the hygiene department, for example, air purifiers, indoor air quality monitoring, new filtration systems for the air and the water.
Indoor Air Quality Monitor ) Photograph Courtesy: cbcpubliclibrary
“Now people will become conscious of hygiene, and as designers we will be making places that are more hygienic for even the people working in the house. Even from the owner’s perspective that request will surely arise,” says Ar Hiren Patel assuring the trend.
With various studies, including this one, claiming that the virus transfers not only between two individuals, but also between people and exposed surfaces. This has caused surface phobia among people, characterized by a fear of touching handrails, doorhandles, doorknobs and other high-contact objects.
It has increased the demand for antimicrobial and anti-viral nanocoatings for flooring and surfaces, auto-cleaning technologies are to be integrated inside furniture, for example inside wardrobes and kitchen cabinets. Many manufacturers have already come up with several germ-resistant coatings for façade, paints, floorings and furniture.
Robotic Mopping for kitchen cabinets | Photo Courtesy: iRobot
Mr Partha Nath, DY, General Manager, GreenPly stated in a webinar organized by Surfaces Reporter on the transformations in material and design we can expect during and after COVID-19, “We have come up with the products like Green Club 700 And Green Club 500, which are first-of-its-kind zero-emission plywood in India. These are CARB certified and are free from formaldehyde-a chemical which when remain exposed to it for a longer period can have ill-health effects.”
Centuryply has also come up with antiviral laminates and plywood that are made with ViroKill Technology and have 99.99% effectiveness against viruses.
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Rajesh Bansal, MD, Dorset which has already been selling safe touch products from the last 2 years to various hospitality industries mentioned, “Now with COVID coming in, we are now available with anti-bacterial coating products for our customer. We have also launched unique touch-free devices, like Dorset tap, to allow for pushing or pulling the doors without touching it,” shared Rajesh Bansal, MD, Dorset.
The use of copper-based products has also increased, especially in the direct touch areas such as hardware like door handles, doorknobs, railings, etc. and washroom fixtures.
In bathroom design, this crisis can bring a substantial rising demand for smart toilets, that at present are very common only in some countries such as Japan. Automatic cleaning faucets that we now see only in some public restrooms could become a common feature in the homes as well.
Automatic Commercial Sensor Touchless Bathroom Faucet : Photo Courtesy: HALO
The Researchers from the University of Houston, in collaboration with Medistar & others have created a new air filter containing commercially available nickel foam, to catch and kill the Coronavirus (SARSCoV- 2) responsible for COVID-19. This kind of hygiene driven innovations are a huge trend now and sure to last longer.
3. INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
Technology has been a great concern over the past decade and in just a few short months, it’s transformed people’s lives on an unprecedented scale. Intelligent technology has impacted every industry, and altered the course of companies’ growth. During the pandemic, innovation has amplified it to historic levels. Multiple social restrictions, need for efficiency have driven the world ever more towards Artificial Intelligence (AI). This trend is sure to stick as now people are way more concerned and accustomed with it.
“Products that we did not focus on earlier have suddenly come to notice; e.g. electronic locks, electronic openings where you don’t have to touch where you can record or use your finger to open up doors, automatic sliding doors, etc, are becoming popular today,” shared Jurgen Wolf, Managing Director, Hafele India Pvt Ltd during a webinar hosted by Surfaces Reporter and Ply Reporter. Most of the product range is for residential purpose, he added. Touch-sensitive products are more in demand and companies are working towards it.
Windows and panels working on wi-fi are going to make people's life not only comfortable but also secure. Technological advancements have made it possible to acquire and manage all information from weather conditions to security on the mobile phone.
RGB LED technology | Photo Courtesy: Google
During the months of massive lockdown, another innovation came to the market in the lighting segment. A lighting installation built with responsive RGB LED technology that mixes the colors red, green, and blue to generate more than 16 million light tones is today available due to the intelligent technology. This invention was driven by the aim of creating immersive environmental experiences in interior spaces.
It seems that intelligent technologies are rapidly taking the center stage to create a holistic interior space.
4. SMART HOME DEVICES
The pandemic amped up the craze of technology not only in commercial spaces but also at homes. Today, when it comes to automation, kitchen and home-offices are not the only spaces to be updated. A huge number of houses are already updated with various AI devices that offer touchfree operation and the trend is only growing.
AI Assisted Cooker | Photo Courtesy: finedininglovers
"Self-help has become the new norm because staff, help, assistants are all going to be in their own spaces for security purposes. This enhances the need of AI (artificial Intelligence) at home", said Nisha JamVwal, Columnist, Designer, Brand Consultant, Influencer during a webinar articulated by SR.
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Smart homes and vocal control are already something happening now. But let’s be honest, before we didn’t have the need to avoid touching certain surfaces, we all thought smart technologies were just something which made our lives easier and our houses cooler. Now, we are considering how many hands can touch the doorknobs of our entrance (especially if we live in a flat on an apartment building), or the buttons of an elevator. That’s why vocal control can really become a huge trend now.
Alexa voice assistant | Photo Courtesy: Google
Alexa, Siri are some of such smart AI for homes to name. Today, you can use smart devices to grill chicken at your next family barbecue, turn the lights off in the living room while you’re watching a movie, or vacuum your floors.
Plus, for people living alone, it may be a really helpful solution in case they feel sick and need help. Moreover, think about accessible ways in which technology can be easily used by both seniors and young tech-savvy generations.
5. MINIMALIST HOME DECOR
Minimalist Home Decor | Photo Courtesy: Google
We have probably already discovered that we can live with less decorative items but efficiency is the key. We even manage to go shopping for food every 10 days. Minimalism values like clean lines, neutral tones and clutter-free homes are the attributes that people want in their spaces. The exceptional luxury decor items such as a painting in the living room, a sculpture or an intricate rug on the floor seems to have lost their charm.
While minimal interior design and Scandinavian designs have always been the most choices for homes and condos, these are budget-friendly decisions as well. You only spend on furniture and decor you really need. Due to the worldwide economic depression, the minimalist trend is likely to stay even longer. Multifunctional furniture is also seeing a rise in the market.
As we now expect house guests to laser every day, an extra bedroom is likely to get converted into a working space and the living room. Efficient, clutter free, minimalist approaches are also being applied to luxury projects.
6. GREEN LIVING
After a quarantine inside a flat, everybody will absolutely want to have a small garden, or at least a small terrace to spend some time outdoors, without the hazard of going out. Plus, this pandemic has taught us how sustainably we can live. Green living was a trend even before the pandemic but was somewhat limited in a certain population. The pandemic has merely paced it's path.
Balcony Garden | Photo Courtesy : Decoist
All things related to gardening is seeing a huge comeback, together with new ways to incorporate greeneries inside homes. Vertical gardens and indoor gardening will have a boom, as a proven way to reduce our stress and to improve the air quality inside our homes. Growing what you eat can become an option to be explored for the indoor as well, with small indoor areas equipped with artificial light, air and water to make vegetables grow.
Biophilia is sure a real necessity, more than just a trend, not only in homes but also in offices.
Greenery in office design | Photo Courtesy: Google
Punjab Government recently pushed green buildings luring people with a slew of incentives in terms of additional FAR of 5% for bronze and silver, 7.5% for gold and 10% for platinum certification by GRIHA and LEEDS, free of charge.
7. VIRTUAL PRODUCT LAUNCHES
IKEA Virtual Reality Showroom | Photo Credit: IKEA
Product launches have been an integral part of the corporate and commercial sector. It involves a lot of communication practices and economical value. However, during the pandemic while the pioneering brands came up with various products worldwide, they also found out an efficient virtual way to launch them.
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"There will be a paradigm shift in end-users and clients’ mentality; there will be certain reluctance in going to the shops. Virtual Showrooms are the Future. Going forward the demand for customization and delivery to the client will grow." -AR AMIT MURAO, Ashray Design Consultants expressed during a combined webinar by Surfaces Reporter and Ply Reporter.
Designer Masaba Gupta and Nykaa were gearing towards the first-ever designer-led fragrance collection for two years now but had to launch the product, virtually. Similarly, Nourish Mantra’s new product line with Nykaa was delayed by three months, and went live only at June end. Businesses like online doctor consultation market, plywood, tiles, mobile phones are also diving into the new trends. Media houses have already shifted most of their gatherings in virtual spaces through webinars where products and projects are getting launched.
8. GOING ORGANIC
The demand for organic products is on the rise and clearly the virtual product launch system is widely accepted already. This trend will sure catch on considering the changed scenario.
Traditional Organic Kerala House Design | Photo Courtesy: Google
As shoppers search for healthy, clean food for at-home families, organic food is proving to be the food of choice for home resulting in a surge in sale for them. Plant-Based Dairy products, Grass-Fed and Pasture-Raised meat, farm fresh vegetables and fruits are seeing the most demands all over the world. This then is also somewhat converted into architectural and interior choices. Being healthy in and out being the mantra, natural material-based products like wood, recyclable products are riding the trend.
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9. SOCIAL DISTANCING IN PUBLIC SPACES
Architects and designers have already cracked up some solutions to maintain social distancing in public places. As the future holds many unseen diseases undeniably, the trend of creating such spaces is sure here to stay.
The circles painted at Bhaji Galli, Grant Road | Photo Courtesy: Bandra Collective
For example, Bandra Collective in Maharashtra is shaping the most crowded parts of the public spaces to safely conduct everyday trades and maintain social distancing. This kind of construction trend will stick with us and shape the future.
Even if all these trends are pandemic driven, but hold the path towards a sustainable and better future. Which trend do you think will affect you the most?
10. VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION
During the pandemic as we observed quarantine practices, we explored various new applications of virtual communication. The sense of community and, hopefully, a new sensitivity towards the environment has led us to live with bare minimum. Today, going to the market everyday is not only out of practice but people are growing a fondness to it nevertheless. Ordering your goods online has offered a new way of living, made possible through virtual communications.
“Companies should show their products line online so that people can reach them. Online is here to stay and customers will look online in the market before physically visiting to the shop,” said Jurgen Wolf, Managing Director, Hafele India Pvt Ltd shared in an e-conclave carried out by Surfaces Reporter and Ply Reporter.
The older generation who found Virtual communication to be somewhat impersonal have also become accustomed to it. Living a healthy life without any unnecessary contacts is the new norm and the trend will only grow for good.
The virtual talk show by Vertica Dvivedi with Kiran Bedi on Surfaces Reporter
Watch this show here: The Vertica Dvivedi Talk Show
Meeting people in a virtual space for refreshments and entertainment is the new norm and rapidly growing. Dating apps, matrimonial businesses that already existed are exponentially growing. Business communications and webinars are also being taken care of by software such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meet etc.
Surfaces Reporter & Ply Reporter has arranged around 25 Webinars with Multiple Posts and has got almost 3.75 Lakh Views and 7.5 Lakh Reach through different social media channels during Lockdown.
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