Eyemouth interior designer Elina looks at creating space to make us feel safe after lockdown

Interior design commissions in Scotland have been affected by the Covid 19 pandemic – says Eyemouth-based interior designer Elina James, owner of Decodence...

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 12:55 pm
Elina James: Design is integral to the functionality of our everyday lives

The design industry faces a quiet revolution as the world grapples with an uncertain future and expectations around social distancing look set to continue.

Businesses and home owners are already anticipating the long term impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and adapting to mitigate risk, as my own customers in Scotland have shown.

If the space in which we live reflects the way we live, this may be no surprise to you.

However, it is an historic moment as the reality and fears of infection manifest themselves with permanence in bricks, mortar and furniture.

So significant is this once in a 100-year storm, we can expect long term social distancing to filter into building regulations, forcing restaurants to increase the space between people (at the moment, it is just 45cm between the back of two chairs).

Elsewhere, design in our everyday lives will change.

Train carriage seats will face the same direction and cinemas that can offer drive-in will do to avoid managing a massively reduced capacity.

Even small homes will have an office as standard and all public places such as clinics, sports centres, stadiums and bars will need to introduce hand-cleaning/sanitation stations and increase the number of toilets to avoid queues.

There are tumultuous logistical challenges for some.

How airports will manage queues for jumbo jets two kilometres long is nothing but a headache of huge proportions.

However, designers are starting to answer some of these questions, which reminds us how integral design is in the functionality of our everyday lives and how it can help us feel and be, safe and calm.

We know that distancing is here to stay.

When people start meeting, the virus will start spreading again and cases will rise, leading to a stop start approach where measures are eased and then return to control pressure on the health service.

But those who adapt will be hit the least by this ebb and flow.

With many Scottish building regulations already stricter than their counterparts in the rest of the UK, we can expect tougher talk when it comes to the future design of public and to some extent, private spaces.

Our current struggle to feel and be in control of our environment is a good opportunity to embrace change and re-design our spaces, taking into consideration the long term impact of this pandemic.

We will all be safer, happier and healthier for it.

Elina James