It's been one month in that we are all in a situation that is completely virgin territory for all us. Our kids have returned from where ever they were. Our homes which we regarded as space where we would just sleep, have become our gyms, offices, schools you name it. Looking back at the last few years I realised that my family and I have actually rarely spent any time in our home together, between the child that was in university then the other going off.
Many rooms that I had designed with a purpose would just be closed off. But today admits the craziness of our lives, we have turned from just spending time in each of our bedrooms to using almost every inch of the house. We are now realising that we need space and we had confined ourselves to four walls because we actually would not spend much time in our homes. Many of us would turn to the outside world to find the shelter we needed. We would sign up to the gym as a form of escapism, escapism from empty rooms. But today with all the family having no choice but to use their physical spaces for their virtual lives, either it be work, socialising, school you name it, those empty rooms are what we all need.
This is also impacting a lot of the current social norms that we had adopted, becoming a society of sharing. From homes to cars, we were moving towards a society that no longer owned anything, to one that was sharing with the entire world. With the new reality that is hitting us we might be more inclined to not really share with strangers, as today we fear each other.
As designers we are asked by our clients/consumers to create an experience. An experience in their homes, in the stores, in their day to day lives. Today with the current situation as designers we are urged to re-consider what experience means, how to draw people into certain spaces with the current constraints that we are facing. Given the technological advancement we have today, experience can be translated in many different ways.
If you are anything like me, you’re really missing your daily cardio, shopping! However the shopping experience we once knew, today is no longer relevant. Brands are going to have to find a way to bring those experiences online, and as designers we are no longer really confined by physical space, as the spaces are created by us, the virtual spaces. Today we need to start embracing technology and finding ways to transmit the experience we are looking to give in different ways. An easy way and one that we have available to us is the virtual world, with 3d we have the ability to teleport someone to another space without them leaving the comfort of their home.
With the current situation we need to start re-evaluating the materials that we use within a space, materials that are longer lasting and that allow to keep a space clean. Clients also need to re-evalute their spaces, their priorities when investing in a space. If this pandemic has taught us anything is that we have forgotten the importance of our homes. We used to be satisfied with a room, but a home is lived in by many different people with many different needs. One can no longer look at the outside world to find comfort. Our homes need to become a translation of our inner selves, they need to be our comfort zones, so when choosing materials we need to make sure that they answer to our new needs. We need to become leaner in what we allow into our homes, making sure that we are not over cluttering as clutter does not help with productivity or sanitation.
But these feelings of self isolation, and being confined to a space brought back a memory from the last Salone Del Mobile where Nilufar depot had an exhibition of Haus-Rucker-co Tase No. 7. Haus-Rucker at the time was protesting the mall handling of the environment, but 47 years later this seems all too relevant. From self isolation to a generation that is willing to test whether ‘#loveisblind’ in pods.
As designers we are facing a new opportunity that will reshape the experience of our consumers, from entering a store, to the way we socialise. It is our duty to bridge the gap between reality and the virtual world, creating a #virtuality.
Question is: Are we bringing back the 60's?
“A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress. Creativity is born from anguish.” - Albert Einstein