In a recent interview focused on the challenges brought about by Covid-19, Luis De Oliviera, founder of De La Espada reflected the thoughts of many in the interior design industry when he said:
“It’s a moment to show a bit of vulnerability…. there are no superheroes unless you work in the hospitals. We’re all just mere mortals worrying about money and uncertainty…. we can make statements of intent but there’s no shame in saying I’m worried.”
There have undoubtedly been a myriad of challenges brought about through the global pandemic which have changed both industry and client perspectives. As the world begins to work through the easing of restrictions and discover what a ‘new normal’ may look like some key themes have emerged on both sides.
1. 360 degree support of the supply chain is vital to the industry’s success
Despite the impetus of recent years to ensure fair and transparent working conditions across manufacturing facilities, Covid-19 has brought about a critical need for designers and end clients to understand just how important those craftspeople are. The industry has a duty to support the, often fragile, livelihoods of communities without whose skill, diligence, and passion, the production of luxury furniture and interior goods would be impossible. At Kassavello we thrive only because of the passionate artisans who have the experience and ability to bring a designer’s vision to life. From sketch to technical drawing, through to production and delivery – we understand how central craftsmanship is to the purpose and livelihoods of those teams. It’s imperative that every individual in the supply chain is supported financially and ethically through the framework of our business model.
2. More openness and sharing of ideas across the industry
Covid-19 took the design industry by surprise – it was a short, sharp shock to many who immediately lost pending projects, faced logistical challenges in completing current projects and were stalled by a lack of new enquiries. Slowly but surely the design community reached out to each other in a way never seen before – personal vulnerability was threaded through social media and industry forums as individuals and studios became much more transparent in sharing information and solutions on how to tackle short and long term issues. A trend that is sure to continue as so many realise that the interior design industry is indeed stronger together.
3. New methods of client communication
As the business world morphs and adapts to new methods of virtual communication, so this has filtered through to the design industry. In a world where clients would previously expect a large degree of face to face contact with their designer, expectations have changed.
The convenience of a zoom meeting or the ease with which visuals can be shared across screens has reassured many clients that virtual meetings can be hugely productive.
Of course there is no substitute for the tactility of picking up a piece of fabric or the accuracy of viewing samples in the light setting of an actual room, but there is a realisation that these consultations can be effectively interspersed with online appointments.
(Ana and Najwa from Homes One after a project installation)
As designers look to a new world and ways to address different challenges so clients’ have also reacted to the pandemic with a new perspective of the industry.
– Shift in importance of how home affects mood, ability to work and physical well being
With the majority of people spending an unprecedented amount of time at home over the past few months there has been an increased buzz around the impact of design and space planning on physical and mental well-being. From flow and movement within a residential property to the impact of natural materials and biophilic design.
A house is so much more than a functional place to shelter, designed in the right way it can support a myriad of human needs.
Interior designers have a huge role to play in this debate, one which will undoubtedly bring fresh impetus to the industry encouraging new clients to engage with industry experts to bring new life and scope to their homes.
(Image: Homes One Interiors latest project with Kassavello bespoke design service)
– Offices in residential spaces are no longer an afterthought
Following years of a ‘presentism’ culture across many companies, a mandate to work from home has led to a greater acceptance and realisation that not only is home working possible but it can also bring a wealth of benefits from both a human perspective and also a financial and productivity perspective. Offices within the home will no longer be an afterthought or the luxury of the privileged few but rather an essential consideration for many developers and home owners.
Creating considered working areas will become an integral part of residential design.
(Image: Kuwait project with Kassavello’s items)
– Client spending
With a lack of opportunity to go on holiday, socialise or spend money on a myriad of items, many clients have been reflecting on the value of investing in well-chosen items for their home which have the ability to deliver a lifetime of joy. Disposable design has taken a back seat in favour of hand-crafted heirloom pieces which support the artisan community and can be treasured from generation to generation.
At Kassavello this period has been a time for reflection and gratitude but as the world emerges into a new era we are excited to be part of the an industry taking a fresh approach to design and reconsidering the impact that it plays in all of our lives.
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