“To rip apart the definition and redefine it, is the work of an artist. Our lives were familiar, but now they must be reconstructed. We must find a way to look at our lives from a new perspective. And that is why art is a way of surviving.”
Dangling are these beautiful lines from one of the episodes of the new series – Homemade, available on Netflix, trying to encompass the intent of the series.
This Netflix series consists of seventeen short films directed by some of the most prolific filmmakers from around the world, that were shot during the COVID-19 lockdown. It has brought out the immense creativity of these filmmakers, as they have created something so astonishing using whatever was available at their homes only! The episodes illustrate the lives of different kinds of people during the lockdown, each in a unique way. The filmmakers have set the bar for human imagination and expressiveness extremely high, even while being locked inside their houses.
The series is a compilation of these short stories from around the world. Every episode is in a different language, giving a sense of diversity in the vision of the directors. Because every story addresses a different issue from distinctive perspectives, the stories can be watched in any order.
As difficult as it is to be amidst such misery, with so many lives being lost and others suffering, with everybody complaining about having financial, social, and mental problems because of the lockdown, one way of looking at this entire situation is that it is a blessing in disguise. The everyday hustle had caused people to lose contact with their loved ones, unable to spend time together and understand each other. This quarantine has put a brake on the hustle and given a chance for people to spend some quality time with their loved ones. It has given a chance to mother earth to take its time and heal from the damages caused by humans. It has given a chance to all our fellow species to finally feel like the earth is their home too and humans don’t just own the planet! For some people, being away from their loved ones has made them realize their value and has taught them to appreciate their presence.
There’s a whole lot of things that can be acquired from this series, especially for movie critics and the general public, but for an architect to learn something out of it, he has to look quite closely into it. Each episode has a unique message when we look from a designer’s point of view. Some of the episodes may even seem confusing or pointless at first! But when looked closely into it, several instances depict the role of architecture in the lives of people, and how the architecture of a space has affected the quarantine lifestyle. So here are some of the things that designers can take away from Homemade -Netflix –
- The spatial organization, the availability of green spaces, and the overall style of living of the directors is reflected in their episodes. Many mental health-related issues are expressed as well like claustrophobia, insomnia, anxiety, loneliness, etc. which are being caused because of being locked inside the same house for a long time. The space that one is surrounded by, especially in such a tense situation, can have an extreme impact on the brain. As very appropriately mentioned in one of the episodes, “Confinement is the condition of the spirit”. So if you’re locked inside a 50-meter square house or 50 hectares of space, it does not matter and can still feel hollow and suffocating if space is not designed correctly.
- Horticulture and indoor gardening can also be seen functioning in many instances, which is proven to help in mental-health improvement as it is a part of Healing landscapes. This provision should be encouraged in households and post-pandemic designs.
- There is one episode that portrays the mundanity of having the same routine of people which has now become the new normal. The designers can learn from this episode that especially for smaller houses, the spaces need to be Multi-functional.
The same small room with your bed and dining table should have the capability of being converted into a hobby space where one can dance, sing, etc. or maybe into a more open space for working out. This can be achieved by using foldable, easily movable furniture, etc. The multi-functionality of the houses has now become an important point to consider while designing, given the situation of a pandemic where people are forced to stay inside their homes!
- Another thing that can be observed in the series is that kids are suffering from boredom and longing to play outside with their friends the most during the quarantine. A terrace or a balcony can help kids connect visually with each other, which may be able to help in decreasing the stress in them and keep them engaged.
- But at the same time, the design should be in such a way that the sense of personal space is not lost just because you are forced to live with the same people in the same house for a very long time.
To conclude, I believe that it is an incredible series to watch, as it is a well-put depiction of the current scenario, from a completely different perspective, which might trigger the viewer to think and imagine on a whole new level. It makes one wonder how they would feel to look back to this after it is over! But for architects and designers, the main takeaway should be the fact that there is so much to learn from the present, which can be reflected in the designs of tomorrow.
“May our current situation help us in building a better future for our next generation”.