Soho Loft | Staircase | Angel O'Donnell

Soho Loft | Staircase | Angel O'Donnell

Soho Loft | Staircase | Angel O'Donnell

Soho Loft | Staircase | Angel O'Donnell

Can design save us?

Forget Design Trends.
We’re talking life-saving design principles.

We admit, the idea that design could saves lives sounds grandiose, even delusional. But when it comes to our homes – design couldn’t be more vital right now.

For instance, the erstwhile utopia of open-plan living has proved suffocating for many families juggling meetings, lessons, haircuts, workouts, playtimes, mealtimes and Me-times. You’d find more peace and productivity inside an airport.

So what can design do to help combat the daily effects of a pandemic? To help answer that, we’re going to look at five core areas of design COVID-19 may change forever.

“Covid has, in a way, forced us all to re-evaluate our surroundings and make interior design now a necessity rather than a luxury.” –  Richard Angel & Ed O’Donnell

How can we make properties covid-proof, and will this forfeit beautiful design?

Clean lines… And surfaces

Materials will be chosen for their aesthetic and antimicrobial qualities. Metals like copper, brass and bronze can naturally eliminate bacteria. Ceramics and stoneware imbued with antibacterial additives can provide continued protection against germs. Even good old-fashioned lino could make a comeback. It’s cost-effective, biodegradable, long-lasting and has natural bacteria-killing properties.

Poland Street Penthouse | coffee table | Angel O'Donnell

Poland Street Penthouse | coffee table | Angel O’Donnell

All hail the knick-knack!

While we need to keep surfaces junk-free and clean, it’s emotionally beneficial to surround ourselves with meaningful objects. Framed photos of loved ones, holiday memorabilia, a work of art, all these things can help us feel connected in a sterile and socially distanced world.

Let there be light

People are going to swap rooms, switch floors and rearrange layouts like never before. This will allow the most sociable spaces – the kitchen and reception zones – to enjoy better views and brighter light. In turn, bedrooms will become darker, cosier sanctuaries of sleep. A simple re-think that will help to reset our circadian rhythm, boost our energy and safeguard our mental wellbeing.

Soho Loft | Open Plan Living | Angel O'Donnell

Soho Loft | Open Plan Living | Angel O’Donnell

In the zone

Zoning is vital. Kitchens must be reclaimed and kept clean for preparing food. And interiors have to cleverly utilise every square inch of a floor plan – to accommodate a reading nook, space for a yoga mat, a corner to work in. We’ve spent years tearing down walls. Now we’re going to put them back up using a mix of decorative partitions and free-standing shelves.

Space for all

Social mobility on this scale will create a melting pot of young singletons, growing families, empty-nesters, retirees – all sorts. No longer will swathes of society get siloed according to some redundant demographic. Instead, people will be free to move and interact as Nature intended.

Richard and Ed playing chess inside Canary Wharf shared space

Richard and Ed playing chess inside Canary Wharf shared space

So can design save lives? Not definitively. But can design help to protect and nurture our physical and mental wellbeing? Absolutely. And it has to, both now and in the future.