Design after COVID-19: Experts examine what lies ahead for the industry

STIR in collaboration with ICA Pidilite presents Design after COVID-19, where experts map the future with first-hand perspectives on trust, flexibility, interdependence and more.

by Meghna Mehta Published on : May 12, 2020

The co-disciplines of architecture and design are braced for a sea change in the post-coronavirus world. The fraternity world over has stood in strong solidarity all this time, and thankfully, experienced from past pandemics as well, there is a surge in technological advancements and paradigm shifts in ways of thinking for the future. The underlining remarkability of this 'brave new world', however, lies in the humanist principles that will drive the change that we are to see.

STIR, in collaboration with ICA Pidilite, a premium Italian wood finishes manufacturer, presents Design after COVID-19, an expert-led series that attempts to map the future of design solutions through the fundamentals of humanity, such as trust, flexibility, interdependence, and lessons from the past that bring us strength and hope by adapting and adopting.

What is it that lies ahead for us? “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and disrupted the entire ecosystem and we must move ahead, accepting the notion of such threats being present for a few years from now. The primary concern would be our responsibility towards the environment,” reminds Rajesh Joshi, CEO, ICA Pidilite.

To put forth the important concerns that may present themselves gradually as we move ahead with or without the coronavirus, this series of opinions from eminent professionals is an attempt to foresee and prepare better. “The design fraternity must come together in solidarity for everyone to strive forward, and hence this series of articles by thought leaders from across the globe will act as a beacon of hope, and cornerstone for ideation and discussion. We aim to nurture such thought-provoking discussions and work towards moving ahead with a stronger resolve,” observes Joshi.

The Design after COVID-19 series is an attempt to throw light on the current and probable repercussions to all aspects - professional, personal, political, global, local and social - that are bound to impact designers, architects, artists and allied professionals. Focusing on subjects such as trust, ecology, macro and micro-level  interventions and impact on local collaborations and craftsmanship, these diverse perspectives offer a comprehensive insight into the future.

Here are the expert examinations that form this enquiry:

1. Global crisis of trust
By Anne Feenstra, Sustainable Mountain Architecture, Nepal

Prof. Anne Feenstra writes about the idea of ‘Trust’ and its existence in the design world over the years and post-pandemics | Anne Feenstra | Design After COVID| STIRworld
Prof. Anne Feenstra writes about the idea of ‘trust’ and its existence in the design world over the years and post-pandemics Image Credit: Claus Visby Andersen

Anne Feenstra, an architect, urbanist and educator, discusses the reliance on ‘trust’ and new revelations that the coronavirus pandemic may leave the design industry with. He looks back at his own journey as a student at TU Delft, Netherlands, and then as the Dean of CEPT University, an urban designer in Kabul, Afghanistan and now as leading a sustainable practice in Nepal.

2. Technology, flexibility and larger spaces  
By Anupama Sharma, Gensler India

Anupama Sharma, MD, Gensler Bangalore, India | Gensler Bangalore India | COVID Predictions | STIRworld
Anupama Sharma, MD, Gensler Bangalore, India Image Credit: Courtesy of Gensler India

Anupama Sharma of Gensler India questions whether touchless technology, flexibility and larger spaces might be the way ahead for design. Sharma probes into various perspectives and possibilities of how the design and architecture industry will evolve, innovate and adapt to a post-COVID-19 world.

3. Industrial rehabilitation as ideal workplaces
By Nicola Rutt, Hawkins\Brown, UK

Nicola Rutt, Hawkins\Brown, UK | Design After COVID-19 series | STIRworld
Nicola Rutt, Hawkins\Brown, UK Image Credit: Courtesy of Nicola Rutt

Nicola Rutt of Hawkins\Brown considers whether industrial spaces provide an answer by lowering workplace density in a post-pandemic world. The article references a research conducted by the firm, Industrial Rehab: A New space for Opportunity, which discusses how rehabilitation of industrial infrastructure can provide airspace, volume, better use of adaptability, connection with the outdoors and general wellbeing.

4. Condition, Prediction and Hope
By Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti, Rafael Miranti architects, Indonesia

Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti, Rafael Miranti Architects, Indonesia | Design After COVID-19 series | STIRworld
Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti, Rafael Miranti Architects, Indonesia Image Credit: Courtesy of Rafael Miranti Architects

Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti, the Jakarta-based architects believe that the future is soon to be the past in a new form. Analysing the current macro level city adaptability in their immediate surroundings and the micro level dynamics of an architecture practice, the article discusses the shift in processes and ways of life that are here to stay.

5. Resilience, Adoption and Adaptation
By Hamish Monk & Dean Mackenzie, Monk Mackenzie Architects, New Zealand

Hamish Monk and Monk Mackenzie, Monk Mackenzie architects, New Zealand | Design After COVID-19 series | STIRworld
Hamish Monk and Monk Mackenzie, Monk Mackenzie architects, New Zealand Image Credit: Courtesy of Monk Mackenzie architects

Hamish Monk and Dean Mackenzie throw light on the emerging positive attitude that has created a more unified, humane and environmentally sensitive society. Their piece discusses economics of architecture firms that will need to be agile and adaptive while being resilient to adoption and adaptation towards new ways of working and communicating post COVID-19.

6. Ecology, Paradox, Interdependence and Self-sufficiency
By Shubhra Raje, Shubhra Raje built environments, USA and India

Shubhra Raje, Shubhra Raje Built Environments, Denver and India | Design After COVID-19 series | STIRworld
Shubhra Raje, Shubhra Raje Built Environments, Denver and India Image Credit: Courtesy of www.shubhraraje.com

Shubhra Raje delves into the narrative of ecology, understood as a web of relationships that make up context and interdependence and the paradox of self-sufficiency and dependence that exists in our profession.

In our Design after COVID-19 series, these design and architecture experts from across the world come together to present thoughts on the future of the industry as it will unfold and present itself post the coronavirus pandemic.

ICA Pidilite leverages Italian technology while bolstering the 'Make in India' narrative to provide top quality premium Italian wood finishes. Know more at www.icapidilite.com

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this piece belong solely to the experts. They do not reflect the opinions or views of STIR or its members. STIR is only a platform to facilitate these views.)

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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