In the era of the sudden pandemic, the issue of proper arrangement of home life is becoming increasingly important. Many people began to spend much more time at home, which determined their life habits and requirements for the environment. Experts of the imm cologne exhibition identified six trends that will affect the structure of our homes in the near future – among them there are both new and those that have been transformed from the influences of previous years.
Home as an open shelter
The pandemic has put a person in front of the need to consider their home as a refuge. However, at present, the requirement to be within the four walls all the time and the natural need to return to a socially active life contradict each other. This has led to a trend that can best be described as a “compromise.” That is, people began to regulate the degree of their own freedom in the conditions that are available to them – that is, to go outside at any opportunity, and sit in the fresh air even on cold days. Thus, there was a trend for the use of structures in homes that can, if necessary, be opened for fresh air. Gazebos and covered areas began to enjoy the same demand as specially designated places for newly purchased bicycles and areas for large and small purchases ordered online.
Recently, the idea of the house as a “cocoon” – a place fenced off from the world – has been widespread. However, now the popular term “homecoming”, which appeared in the early 2000s, is increasingly recalled – it refers more to the desire to create a beautiful house that has a more positive meaning. Home in a pandemic becomes a place of refuge and gives a sense of security – primarily due to the cozy environment. Hygge, vintage, Scandinavian style and other fashion styles of recent years inspire and reveal our need for a beautiful home. The new cozy house is divided into private spaces (bedrooms or bathrooms) and public areas where residents can spend time with friends, relatives, and acquaintances. In an era when mass gatherings are banned, everyone is eager to team up with family and friends. Meeting places can include an island block in the kitchen, a large dining table, or a patio in the garden. There is a general interest in the improvement of open spaces in the categories of coziness and comfort. Discussion of the very style and principles of living in the house is becoming increasingly important – and finds stormy support in social networks.
A small area of living spaces
Real estate companies and developers are already seeing tiny spaces as a lucrative business model. In many cities around the world, showcase projects of micro-apartments are planned or have already been developed – from affordable to luxurious. For the interior design of these dwellings, multifunctional and transformable furniture, new structural elements and lightweight components are important. Matthias Pollmann, Koelnmesse Vice President of Exhibition Management, believes that this trend will have a direct impact on the interior industry: “As housing becomes a commodity that is sold globally, the furniture sector must also respond to these changes, which previously did not play a special role in production. Otherwise, the furniture market will inevitably be divided between luxury and cheap goods.” How is the industry responding to urbanization and shrinking living space? Solutions come in the form of innovative furniture for various purposes – while the level of comfort remains the same. The interior design is optimized taking into account the limited size of the apartments.
Rental boom and coliving
For all modern nomads, students and single people who want to combine the urban atmosphere with modern comfort and are ready to live in a smaller area – rented apartments on managed objects represent a new attractive concept of life. Such apartments are usually furnished, entry and exit can be flexible, and the rental package – although usually not particularly cheap – includes everything from heating bills and a radio and television license to repairs and sometimes cleaning costs. The co-living and co-working spaces in these apartment buildings are as much in keeping with the spirit of the times as their attractively designed backyards, rooftop gardens, street cafes, and other forms of local infrastructure. The trend of co-housing also offers the interiors sector the opportunity to develop new innovative solutions.
Sustainability and green thinking
Long before the coronavirus pandemic hit, sustainability criteria began to play a role in buying furniture. The durability of furniture, thanks to factors such as better design and a higher level of workmanship, is becoming increasingly important, as are the “green” creation stories of some pieces of furniture. Professional buyers and design decision makers pay special attention to environmentally friendly products. Everyone pays attention not only to the “internal” qualities, such as suitable materials and production conditions, but also to whether the overall result is balanced with the decorative properties of the object and the specific context of use. From the point of view of design, the signals of “stability”, for example, it is proposed to consider floral patterns and green.
Work at home
The pandemic has introduced new standards for remote work and quickly normalized them. Designers and industrialists are increasingly asking new questions. Will people return to the offices, and if so, how often will they visit it? What impact will the “hybrid” way of working have on how we communicate, work and create? Will working from home promote gender equality and greater diversity? And what does work transform into if offices become virtual and we lose everyday social interaction? It is also actively studying what happens to people who cannot work from home. Designers and employers are thinking about creating a more effective social safety net for the most vulnerable workers — and that if digital is the future, how do we make sure that many segments of the population are not left behind.
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