In the era of a 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 living habits and the demands placed on their environment. Experts at the imm cologne exhibition have identified six trends that will influence the design of our homes in the near future – among them there are both new ones and those that have transformed from the influences of previous years.
Home as an open shelter
The pandemic has forced people to consider their home as a refuge. However, at present, the requirement to be within 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 “compromise.” That is, people began to regulate the degree of their own freedom in the conditions that were available to them – that is, going outside whenever possible, and sitting in the fresh air even on cold days. Thus, a trend has emerged for the use of structures in homes that can be opened for fresh air if necessary. Gazebos and covered areas have become as popular as designated areas for newly purchased bicycles and areas for large and small purchases ordered online.
Recently, the idea of the home as a “cocoon”—a place sealed off from the world—has become widespread. However, the popular term “coming home”, which appeared in the early 2000s, is increasingly being remembered – it refers more to the desire to create a beautiful home with a more positive meaning. During a pandemic, home becomes a place of refuge and gives a feeling of security, primarily due to its cozy atmosphere. Hygge, vintage, Scandinavian style and other fashion styles of recent years inspire and reveal our need for a beautiful home. The new cozy home is divided into private spaces (bedrooms or bathrooms) and public areas where residents can spend time with friends, relatives and acquaintances. In an era where large gatherings are banned, everyone is keen to unite with family and friends. Gathering spaces may include an island unit in the kitchen, a large dining table or a garden patio. A common interest in the improvement of open spaces in the categories of coziness and comfort is obvious. Discussion of the style and principles of living in a house is becoming increasingly important – and is receiving strong support on social networks.
Small living space
Real estate companies and developers are already looking at tiny spaces as a lucrative business model. Many cities around the world are planning or have developed showcase micro-apartment projects ranging from affordable to luxury. Multifunctional and transformable furniture, new structural elements and lightweight components are important for the interior design of these homes. Matthias Pollmann, vice president of exhibition management at Koelnmesse, believes that this trend will have a direct impact on the interiors industry: “As housing becomes a commodity that is traded 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 industry responding to urbanization and shrinking living space? Solutions come in the form of innovative furniture for different purposes – while maintaining the same level of comfort. The interior design is optimized taking into account the limited size of the apartments.
And the rental boom and coliving
For all the modern nomads, students and singles who want to combine an urban atmosphere with modern comforts and are willing to live in a smaller space, managed rental apartments represent an attractive new living concept. Such apartments are usually furnished, move-in and move-out can be flexible, and the rental package – although usually not particularly cheap – includes everything from heating bills and a radio and TV license to renovations and sometimes cleaning costs. The co-living and co-working spaces in these apartment buildings are as in tune with the zeitgeist as their attractively designed backyards, rooftop gardens, sidewalk cafes and other forms of local infrastructure.
Resilience and green thinking
Long before the coronavirus pandemic hit, sustainability criteria began to play a role in furniture purchasing. The durability of furniture, thanks to factors such as better design and high levels of workmanship, is becoming increasingly important, as is the green history of some furniture pieces. Professional buyers and design decision makers are paying particular attention to environmentally friendly products. Everyone pays attention not only to “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 a design perspective, floral patterns and the color green, for example, are suggested to be signals of “sustainability.”
Work from home
The pandemic introduced new standards for remote work and quickly normalized them. Designers and industrialists are increasingly asking new questions. Will people return to offices, and if so, how often will they visit? What impact will a “hybrid” way of working have on the way we communicate, work and create? Will working from home promote gender equality and greater diversity? And what will work transform into if offices go virtual and we lose everyday social interaction? There is also active research into what happens to people who cannot work from home. Designers and employers are thinking about creating a better safety net for the most vulnerable workers – and how, if the future is digital, how to ensure many sectors of the population are not left behind.