I interviewed Misty Floro and Pai Edles of Morfosis, an interior design studio, about the changes they see in their industry brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Again, it was another virtual interview because of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) constraints. With a good internet connection, it’s working from home (WFH) for them and me.
What changes do you see in interiors because of this pandemic?
- Increasingly, homes will be designed with sanitation stations or spaces before or near the main entrance that serve as an “anteroom” where people can disinfect before going inside the home. This will also be a requirement for non-residential spaces such as places of work and places of mass gatherings.
- Clients may now require more storage for food, and also for essential non-food items. For example, a bigger pantry or freezer space for perishable items.
- In case someone in the household gets sick with Covid19, we have seen some suggestions online to prepare one room in the house as an “isolation room”. This is a room preferably with its own toilet and bath and with proper ventilation (window and/or AC).
- In general, clients may require that materials used for their homes or spaces would be very low-maintenance and easy to disinfect or clean.
- Being stuck at home within concrete walls made us realize the importance of connecting with the outdoors. The push towards self-sustainability have a lot of us taking up urban gardening by planting fruits and vegetables in our balconies or gardens. Having indoor plants is also a way to bring the outdoors in. We also often find ourselves hanging out near windows with sunlight to get our dose of Vitamin D. We see that clients would require more of these green spaces (gardens or balconies) in their homes to be closer to nature.
- Many people are now working from home and finding out that having a designated work space separate from places of rest is important. Well-designed home offices will now be one important requirement for future homes.
Good ventilation / air flow will also be considered. Air purifiers can also help to clean the air.
You mentioned sanitation stations, can you give some ideas how they would look like?
When the ECQ started, we were on the design conceptualization phase for one of our office projects. The client didn’t request for a sanitation station, but we anticipated that it would be needed. And so we designed one for the office’s entryway. We realized that this type of sanitation station would become a requirement for a lot of our projects moving forward, and so we decided to do this as a design exercise for our team. We noticed that on social media, people would post their makeshift sanitation stations — small tables, benches, crates, hooks, etc. usually located at the entryway to a home. Everyone has their own requirements for a sanitation station, so we tried to explore the different options, configurations, sizes, etc. that we could do.
List the top 3 sanitation needs that these stations can address.
- A place where one can take off / store PPE and other items from the outdoors
- A place for sanitation items such as alcohol dispensers, tissue, and other cleaning agents
- A catch-all for items brought from the outdoors such as groceries and produce
Did you have a particular interior space in mind when you designed each?
Yes, we did. For example, for Subtract, it’s actually what we want for our condo. We chose to do a compact one because it’s what would fit our space. We also wanted it to be minimal and sculptural to match the interiors of our condo.
For the other designs, we asked our team to design for their own spaces or for our projects (past or present). And that’s why some designed for a garage area, for offices/public spaces, etc.
Do you see these stations as the “new normal” in interior design?
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected each person in the world on a very personal level. We will be forced to rethink what is essential, and this includes how we think about interior design.
These sanitation stations that we have designed can be an answer to just some of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic presents to us. And we will continue to try to find more design solutions that will help make life better, moving forward.
For us at Morfosis, we have always viewed interior design as something more than just aesthetics—interior design is all about improving quality of life.
Life will continue after Covid-19, but can we go back to how life used to be pre-Covid-19? We think not. But we remain hopeful and positive that humankind will be able to cope, adapt and overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
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