Someone was pleasantly surprised when I used the term "COVID WARRIORS" for Architects & Designers. It was during a pre-webinar discussion when I used these words to emphasize on the crucial role of architects & interior designers during this pandemic. "Wow! This feeling of being COVID warriors is so amazing. Thanks for the respect," he said.
I realized how much the discussion in the design circle is about "what’s happening," "what will happen?" and "what’s not happening" rather than the crucial question, "what we can do to create safe and liveable spaces for the new normal?"
Times are tough. Times would be tougher if the business eco-system is not strengthened by understanding the new needs. The time demands you have to keep yourself and your work alive while supporting and contributing to the business ecosystem related to architecture & design. SR thinks, architects and designers are the warriors for building, architectural and design sector. People are looking at them with hopes to find solution for spaces.
As COVID warriors are working tirelessly in hospitals, I see opportunities amidst crisis for Architects and Designers to come as frontline warriors to help houses, offices, retail, healthcare and education to restart. Collaboration is extremely important with the health experts, sanitation experts and involving technology experts to fill in the gaps which are outside the purview of architects. In a time like this when our living spaces are challenged, architects & designers should collaborate as a community of warriors. Our well-decorated houses seem inadequate and it can only be anticipated that COVID is the start of many more challenging times to come.
Expectations from Clients
In the last few SR webinars, dignitaries & clients who are regularly hiring services of architects & designers, were part of Surfaces Reporter’s webinars. They shared immense insight on the actual requirements post COVID. Studying the expectations of the people, SR understood, people are clear about their needs but unclear if architects & designers can provide solutions for the same since situation is new for all.
Healthcare would need renovations in a massive scale. Commercial offices are already demanding design interventions for zoning, decentralization and ways of physical distancing. People living in apartments are looking for experts to guide how design can be upgraded to deal with the situation. Storage spaces are also something to look after as demand for storage is rising. There is less focus on closets, more on kitchen storages. How more can be done out of small spaces has forever been in demand. COVID has made this demand sour higher.
Everyone is looking for a decent homeoffice so homes are getting renovated to add storage space, home-office and school areas for kids. Co-working spaces are on the rise because most people may prefer going to a neighbourhood office to work in a seamless office environment with all resources. In this case, companies are saving on their cost of office rent and building for those jobs that do not need office space.
Cleanliness of the spaces is the biggest concern now-a-days. Clients are looking at architects to make their homes with surfaces and products which will lead to easy maintenance, quick cleaning and safety from microbes & bacteria.
Responsibility of Architects and Designers
Surfaces Reporter feels, it is high time, as frontrunners of the building design sector, architects and designers must brainstorm and come up with ideas to make spaces suitable for the new normal. They need to focus on designing for the ‘new normal’ with out-ofthe-box ideas, better ventilation, anti-bacterial materials, touchless products, zoning system, with safety in mind so as to mitigate the worries over hygiene which is a matter of great concern.
The message that post-COVID, architects & designers must be consulted for transforming spaces, needs to be communicated to the masses through right messages and actual examples. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) stands with the fraternity to support this cause and looks forward to ideas, articles, videos & suggestions for spreading the same.