How interior architecture will transform the post-pandemic world


The coronavirus will transform the design industry, the practice of design and designers, but none may be more equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead.

“There will be this incredible wave of reinterpretation of built space,” predicts Simone Oliver, director of Architectus, one of Australia’s leading interior, architecture and planning studios.

“Socket [designers and interior architects’] great skills to be able to look very closely at the needs of human beings and design accordingly, to make life a better place for people will be absolutely essential, ”she said.

The designer joined an industry panel with UNSW alumni and other leading practitioners to discuss the future of interior design in a post-pandemic world.

The future of the workplace

For Ms. Oliver, the success of working from home will mean a reassessment of the role of the office.

“I think it’s important – at this point – to keep a very, very open mind about where the work will be found and the types of work that will be done,” she says. “I also think [we will] reinterpret… suburban life and what it’s like to work from home.

Keith Dougal, senior partner at Studio Nine Architects, an Adelaide-based boutique studio, says the viability of work in the workplace is under question.

“The biggest question for me, and this for a long time from a work perspective in particular, is why would you go to a building in the first place, with the kind of achievement in the last few weeks that people can really work. anywhere, anytime, ”he says.

“I think building owners probably need to start looking at what their buildings are and what they mean to potential tenants.”

He believes workers will likely be reluctant to return to the workplace as is.

“My kind of intuition from a construction point of view, there may be a bit of a delay getting back into confined spaces,” Mr. Dougal said.

Neil Christopher, director of Gensler, a global design and architecture firm, agrees. “I think a lot of us, especially in the big cities, really dread this idea that we’re going to travel on trains, crowded trains, etc., coming back to the CBD every day,” he says.

Kirsti Simpson, director of Hassell, a multidisciplinary architecture, design and town planning firm, says that while we may not want to clutter up elevators or hot desks in the future, the traditional office can. always be a primary workplace.

She says conventional office space may shrink as working from home becomes more common, but what’s left will need to better accommodate teamwork and collaboration.

“The kind of workplace we really miss is collaboration. We see that this kind of [digital] method of communication is fabulous for problem solving and dealing with crisis. But in terms of innovation and idea generation, we don’t find it as successful, ”she says.

Prepare for cultural change

Mr Christopher says that while we can cope with changes in the workplace, we may not be prepared for the loss of the cultural aspects of the world.

“How do we help cultural change in the world so that we as people can adapt and embrace different ways of experiencing the built environment,” he says.

He says that while the next crisis may not be a pandemic, now is the time to prepare spaces for greater resilience.

“Something is going to happen that will force us as humans to rotate, and our buildings have to do that.” We have to be able to do it culturally; we have to do it experimentally; I don’t know what that means. But I suspect it will be about creating spaces that allow fluidity and flexibility.

Mr Dougal says buildings and interiors will need to be designed for greater resilience.

“I just hope we sort of come out on the other side of that, whenever that happens, with a real understanding of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how it benefits people,” said Mr. Dougal.

“There will be a lot of room for creativity in the future because the world will need creative and lateral thinkers to be able to overcome problems, adapt and be able to create new environments that have great meaning and great resilience “, Ms. Olivier adds.

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