Design responds to new normal in home, office work spaces

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    INTERIOR design and contracting businesses are adjusting to the effects of the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Joy Jabile-Ejercito,  general manager /principal designer of JJE Design and Construct, said interior designers have always been responsive to changes in their industry.

    She said the profession went through World War 1 and 2 along with other challenges through the years and came out unscathed.

    Ejercito said the COVID- 19 pandemic will transform the society with a realization that they can still work productively from home and with a new definition of public spaces.

    According to Ejercito,  existing circumstances are making people re-think the functionality and importance of spaces.

    “When you are locked-down, it becomes clear why interior design is  important, if not crucial. This quarantine has inspired people to nest and re-decorate,” she said.

    The need for space, she said, has spurred the need to create a transition zone with a sanitizing area and changing area, work space, home-school area, and virtual meet-up area.

    Ejercito said aesthetics are just as important, adding  colors will be a significant design factor:  yellows to cheer up  a space, blue to relax, and shades of green to re-energize and rejuvenate.

    “Since people will be staying more indoors until a cure/ vaccine is found, greenery will be incorporated through vertical gardens with artificial light to make plants and vegetables grow,” she said.

    According to Ejercito, public spaces will move toward more automation to mitigate contagion.

    Joy Jabile-Ejercito with daughter Sophia.

    “There will be speeding up of the development of touchless technology that is voice-activated and device-controlled.  Interior designers will have to specify antibacterial finishes, including those that already exist like copper. They will also be including design nudges to direct everyone to where they can sanitize or wash their hands and specification of the RFID technology for temperature screening and installation of the  technological  UV lighting to disinfectant spaces,” she said

    To brace for this new reality, the design and construction industry is increasing its research.

    “This pandemic should not necessarily be a bad thing for the interior design profession.  We should continue to look for opportunities which provide a ‘silver lining’,” said Ejercito

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