I have never spent more time locked up in the house than I have spent during this current pandemic. The pandemic has taught us outnumbered lessons one of them is that we need to reimagine the way we design our interior spaces. We have planned these spaces as aesthetically appealing objects rather than as usable spaces. On a regular working day, one hardly spent time at home; they only use it as a resting space at night. Therefore, they fail to realize how stressful it is to live in these finely designed homes.
The delicate houses that are being designed in modern times are all about being a closed disconnected space from the outside world, filled with expensive furniture, flooring, lamps and etc. which fails to even resonate with the personality of its user. During this pandemic people were locked up in these boxes that they called homes; they started to feel alienated and exhausted within their own homes. These closed boxes loaded with objects don’t create a pleasant experience but a feeling of suffocation which could be erased by a breath of fresh air.
Plants create a soothing aura within a space and a feeling of being connected with the outside. The presence of plants in our interior spaces helps to eliminate the feeling of isolation; thus the mood boards of the post pandemic era should not have plants as an optional object that depends on the will of the designer but as a mandatory element. Like a mood board is incomplete without a color theme, similar it is incomplete without a plant. Plants shouldn’t be just seen as an object but rather as a design element that helps to create visual balance or contrast within the interior spaces.
Plants can be used as an element of visual hierarchy through their color and texture; in living rooms designed with neutral tones, the presence of a green wall becomes the highlight of the space and makes the space look fresh and lightened up. The sharp contrast between the neutral earthy shades and bright green color creates a strong visual hierarchy for the green wall, thus the user is constantly being attracted towards it to generate a soothing experience for the user.
The green color of the plant holds a psychological significance, attracting the human eye towards it. It can be used as a directional element along the corridor to guide the user towards taking that path or along the staircase to highlight the path towards the upper floor. Corridors and staircases are often considered the deadest spaces of our houses but the plants help to bring life to these walk-by spaces by adding color and texture to them.
During the pandemic, people were locked up in their houses, but their lives never stopped. Within a month everything was adjusted according to the situation. One thing that has changed is now all the work was done from home, our homes were transformed into offices, classrooms, studios, workshops, etc. But the real question is that did our houses provide us with such flexibility that we could change our living room into an office or a classroom?
Our modern designed homes lack the capability of adapting to new functions each corner is designed for a specific purpose.
The furniture becomes the most significant element that mentally instructs the user towards the purpose of the space, thus we need to adapt to more flexible furniture in our spaces that allow the user to mold the space accordingly. The use of movable partitions also provides the user with the command over the interaction. In the pandemic, as our houses have become our workspace as well as our leisure space, the partition walls help to create a certain level of privacy when required, simultaneously, helps to divide space to be utilized for multiple purposes at a time.
The partition doesn’t just provide the user with the flexibility of using spaces accordingly instead, it also helps to open up spaces together; creating larger open spaces within the house that eliminates the sense of suffocation. Compartmentalizes the house into smaller spaces, makes it look more compact and exhausting. Thus a more frequent use of a glass partition or movable partition can provide a sense of openness within the house.
The entrance of the house sets the mood of the user; it is one of the most significant parts of the house while designing. We often find an object such as a welcome mat, a key holder, or a plant that expresses a gesture of a warm welcome inside the house, but in post-pandemic time, the welcome needs to be warm and safe as well thus introducing sanitizer and mask holder as an important object in the entrance design can create a sense of responsibility within the user.
Thus in the post-pandemic era, the key is to acknowledge that our houses shouldn’t just be the object for visual appeal, they should be spaces that are easily habitable during such extreme conditions of quarantine. It should provide the user a sense of control over the interaction he wants to build with the outside world.