Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Design

The ways we interact, the ways we work, the ways we think, and the ways we innovate have been indelibly impacted by the pandemic. It has altered many patterns we may have taken for granted. To give some examples, look at the implications this global pandemic has had on design —  specifically the interior built-environment. 

Color Trends

The CEO of Henrybuilt brought out that although product development may slow down, these spaces of isolation that many individuals are faced with will spur a surplus in creativity for designers. One aspect of user-centered design involves the portrayal of consumer attitudes reflected in the color scheme of a design. The pandemic has created a heightened sense of unrest, grief, and anxiety at a scale and scope many have never experienced. This translates to the desire for reassurance, comfort, and peace that corresponds with certain colors. Senior coloring marketer Dee Schlotter points to a return to nature-like color schemes because “these colors promote internal peace in an age where mental and physical well-being are critical.”

Programming in a Home Space 

Society can not fail to overlook the risks “essential workers” face, carrying out tasks that benefit so many. But for a moment, consider those that are able to work from home. The pandemic has forced many to adopt office-like conditions in home settings which poses a question: what kind of space are we willing to live and work in now? The importance of acoustic barriers to accommodate everyone working from home and the philosophy of having less so you feel as though you have more space has been emphasized as a result.  The pandemic has changed our perspective of looking at a space, as we question whether or not it would be feasible or possible to remain there for an extended period of time. 

Defensive Design

In 1933, the Paimio Sanatorium in Finland was a facility designed by Hugo Alvar Henrik to function as a sort of medical instrument given the tuberculosis outbreak of that time. Thought was given to the geometry of the walls, the lighting of the rooms, the surfaces of the ceilings all set to work in tandem and eradicate the spread of the disease. That outbreak gave rise to modern architecture, and it is not far off to think that Covid-19 pandemic can have the same effect. Many express that the space necessary for quarantine is defensive with “taped lines and plexiglass walls segmenting the outside world into zones of socially distanced safety” according to the New Yorker. Grocery stores have altered the flow of people and the distances between aisles as a result. 

As we experience this shift in how society experiences design in the built-environment, it will be interesting to see what patterns remain.