Regardless of where your views land relative to our current health crisis, it's impossible to ignore the impact it has had on human connection. We are constantly told to stay at home, and to stay away from others. We are being bombarded with Images of people in masks, face shields, and latex gloves hiding behind Plexiglas barriers.
These images undeniably portray the reality we currently live in, but will it define our future? How will we be able to safely connect with our neighbors, colleagues, and friends without a sneeze guard between us?
As a designer, I help create spaces that people use every day. Human safety is at the forefront of any good designers mind, and designing responsibly is a must...but what does this mean today? What can I do to elevate the human experience but also keep my clients safe? Here are a few ideas...
- Design public and commercial projects with more open space in mind, giving people more room to circulate, but keeping open site lines to our neighbors and colleagues.
- Educate my clients on antimicrobial products that look and feel like their predecessors, but deter the spread of germs. Perhaps this will keep people from being afraid to meet, gather and play.
- Designing homes as multi-functional spaces will be a must. Understanding that living rooms will also function as gyms and home offices, and bedrooms will double as distance learning hubs. This will largely impact space planning, pushing designers to create clever storage ideas and rooms that support more than one use (hide-a-way offices and work spaces, room dividers, etc.)
Designers and architects can play a huge roll in keeping people connected, organized, and flexible as we move through these uncharted waters. We can design smarter, and use our resourcefulness and creativity guided by these new rules of social engagement to benefit our clients, and elevate our projects.