With the technological advances of the past decade or so, we have all become accustomed to, if not reliant on, being entertained at a moment’s notice—on demand if you will. The death of boredom due to the pervasiveness of smart phones, online streaming services and even meal delivery, has meant that we were busier than ever, with less free time and even less enjoyment. We weren’t freed by technology, so much as enslaved by it.
Quarantine has been an enlightening social experiment of isolation, shared experience, boredom, anxiety, delayed gratification and self-indulgence. At first we binged Netflix, shopped Amazon, and ordered groceries delivered, but eventually, the novelty wore off and we had to learn to live with ourselves—unadulterated, unvarnished, undyed and uncut. We did puzzles and learned to bake sour dough bread; took walks with the dog and started painting again. We slowed down, took a more analog approach to life and discovered that living online wasn’t the end all to be all. We learned to entertain ourselves.
It’s not entirely clear how much the experience of being quarantined is going to influence life after we return to normal, or what it will look like in practice, but it seems clear that our desire for shared, real-life experiences is a lasting and permanent fixture of human society. We were not meant to live online, or alone, and even as digitally connected as we were before all this, we didn’t realize just how much direct human contact we had on a daily basis. We didn’t realize how much eye contact we made with strangers; how much physical contact there really was.
The future of space design, whether it’s buildings or ballrooms, gardens or gazebos, dens or dining rooms, will always evolve and adapt to the needs of the people using them. We don’t design in a vacuum, or frolic in a world of esoteric theory for the sake of ego; rather we endeavor to create spaces that aid in the stimulation of meaningful experiences.
Will architectural and interior design change as we move forward into a post-covid world? Of course. It always does. But the constants of human interaction, social connectivity, and shared experiences will dictate that some rules will always apply, and the only thing that will change is how we react to them. That’s the great thing about creativity and innovation. They are merely logical reactions to temporary obstacles and necessary for progress. The exciting part of looking to the future is that we don’t entirely know what it will bring, but if you open yourself up to the possibility that the future will be full of wonder and unforeseen potential, then you will always be pleasantly surprised.