Life has changed so dramatically in the last few months for everyone around the world.
Staying home has been one of the key actions we are taking to flatten the curve. We do other things asked of us like wearing a mask in public and washing our hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water as often as needed.
The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for the National Capital Region, among other regions, has been extended for the second time. Now we are looking at May 15 as the end to this ECQ.
I don’t fault the government for the extensions. I do believe that it is very difficult for any government to decide when and how to ease the quarantine. What Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said is as relevant here as it is in the US, “…you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline…”
That will be a total of nine weeks that we would be staying at home. I am sure most of us have not spent this much time at home, which has either become a prison or a sanctuary. Whatever it is for you, one thing can’t be denied: Your home shelters you and keeps you safe from the bogey
Most of us have shifted things around a bit at home because we’ve established a strict routine to keep our place virus-free. What other shifts will be happening in the way we live our lives?
The pandemic has affected almost all aspects of our lives, including our living spaces. How do trend forecasters see the impact of Covid-19 on our homes and our way of life?
Trends That Forecasters See in Living Spaces
Here are some trends predicted by forecasters on the changes they see happening to our living spaces and how we will relate to them in the future.
A Quarantine of Consumption
influential fashion and design trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort said that we will experience a “quarantine of consumption” where we will buy and own fewer things, cut down on travel, and become more self-sufficient and mindful.
For several years we have understood that in order to survive as a species and to keep the planet going we need to make draconian changes to the way we live, travel, consume and entertain.
But somehow the human psyche is resistant and wants to test if things will just dissipate by themselves, waiting and biding our time while we are doing business as usual. Therefore the sudden stop on all of this by the virus takes decisionmaking out of our hands and will just slow things down to another, frightful pace in the beginning. We are no longer used to doing things without rushing, waiting for answers, searching for solutions nor producing in our backyards. Improvisation skills and creativity will become the highest assets. (Dezeen, 9 March 2020)
What she sees is that countries will embrace their uniqueness. Cottage industries will thrive and handmade arts and crafts will be cherished.
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She also mentioned that the DIY aesthetic will dominate, “My future forecast for the Age of the Amateur seems to come much faster then I anticipated.” DIYers, now is your time to shine!
If you want to discover the world of DIY, you’ve come to the right place. Click here to see Boysen instructional videos on many DIY projects to beautify your homes.
The Covid-19 pandemic is driving a shift towards a frictionless, low-impact society in which brands and consumers have little to no interaction within a physical space.
Reducing friction and offering a low-touch but high-impact, fast and efficient experience that forgoes the need for human contact will be increasingly key. (Laura Saunter, WGSN)
We already see the beginnings of this in supermarkets, restaurants, bake shops, fast food chains, and cafés. Whereas before, what drove online shopping was convenience, now there is also the additional need for health safety. A lot of mom-and-pop stores have mushroomed in the past weeks as consumers prefer to stay at home and have their orders delivered.
I passed by a fast food restaurant recently on my way home from the grocery store. I saw a queue of Grabfood drivers on their motorbikes tapping on their mobile phones while waiting for their orders. Except for the kitchen area, the restaurant was in darkness. I could imagine the relatively bigger space allotted for the dining area that the virus rendered useless. How much rent is being paid for that? I saw this scenario replicated in almost all the other restaurants that were open, which accepted only orders for pick-up or delivery.
The dine-in option is not available, and rightly so for the protection of patrons and employees. I felt nostalgic though when I thought of coffee or dinner dates with friends. I don’t think that would be coming back any time soon. Or if it will, I don’t know if I would be so brave as to eat in a full restaurant, even if there was a 6-feet (2-meter) space around each table. This regulation may work for dine-in service but not for restaurants offering buffets.
That’s just restaurants. What about hair and nail salons, fitness centers, spas, theaters, churches, or play centers? What about contact sports, will that not be too much of a risk for athletes?
Covid-19 really challenges our way of life. Human contact is such a basic part of living. A “frictionless, low-impact” lifestyle would be such a stretch for Filipinos, social beings who treasure relationships and human connections. Think of the extended family, the friends, barkada, gang, team. Paano na lang ‘yan, Bes?
Relocating to City Suburbs and Small Villages
Ukranian architect Sergey Makhno sees the decongestion of urban areas as people move out into the suburbs to live in houses and not high-rises.
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After forced self-isolation on different floors above the ground, often without a balcony or terrace, we will all desperately want to have a house. It can be small, but with a courtyard and a terrace where you can have coffee in the morning.
Obviously he was not thinking of Manila but some other city. The traffic in Manila is so bad that people would pay a high rent in a cramped space rather than have a house far from the work place. Braving the horrible Manila traffic twice a day can be a dealbreaker for most people. Add to that the quality of our public transport. I don’t see people making an exodus to suburbia any time soon, also because property prices there are not much less.
But I have to admit that the thought has crossed my mind several times during the ECQ because I do miss having a garden or even a terrace where I can get some much-needed Vitamin D and just feel the breeze. Think early morning, early evening, or late at night to just gaze at the sky.
Level Up the Home Office
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Working from home (WFH) has been around for a long time. In the Philippines, it is only because of this pandemic that work (including schools) for so many has now shifted from the office to home.
Architect Makhno predicts that the home office, instead of it being just a desk and chair shoved in some corner of the house, will be located in a room with a huge window and space for equipment and files. It will be a place that affords one the privacy to think, to take part in teleconferences or Zoom meetings. Noise reduction will also be considered, like adding noise friendly flooring, acoustic wall panels or acoustic furniture.
In other words, a home office will no longer be an afterthought. It will be part of planning and designing a home.
Plant Your Own Garden
Plants are usually placed in homes for aesthetics purposes. But now, planting your own garden, even if you’re living in a high-rise building, has become an attractive idea. A herb or vegetable garden can be very useful for your home cooking.
The photo above is from Chef Ramon, whose story you will find here. Stranded in Cebu, he spends the day cooking for his mom and the rest of the household. The plants you see above are from the scraps of vegetables that he used for his dishes.
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Imagine that, out of kitchen scraps, you can grow more veggies for future use! This is a very precious kind of recycling.
With this ECQ, have you also realized how important farmers are in society?
Mudroom or Sanitation Area
American in origin, a mudroom is that part of the house by the entrance (preferably a side or back entrance if you have a detached residence) where you can get rid of clothes, shoes, bags and all other stuff so that you don’t bring into your home mud, dirt, or today’s dreaded virus Covid-19.
What would be very functional is if your mudroom is also your laundry area. You can strip off all your clothes when you get in the door and immediately put them in the hamper. Have a house dress or robe ready unless you want to walk through your home in your naked glory.
For condo dwellers, you may just have to make do with a sanitation area by the front door. That’s where you leave your shoes, and where you keep wet wipes, hand gel, alcohol, etc, that you would need to sanitize your hands and things.
What Other Trends Do You See?
Architect Edwin D. Uy’s shared his thoughts about how he sees architecture in a post-Covid world. Click here to read the article.
Now that you’ve spent weeks in your home, you may have some ideas on how to organize your living space to handle the demands of a world with the Covid-19 virus still running free. Do share your ideas in the comment section below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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