COVID interiors – Lockdown Lounging
It started roughly a year ago around this time. News about a strange virus was arriving from Asia and people were starting to wonder if this would affect their lives. Well it did! One year later many countries having a second lockdown with some countries even using curfew as a tool to control the spread. During the first lockdown which started also about one year ago people were taking a very close look at their direct surroundings. Clothing cabinets were finally sorted out and an enormous surplus of excess second hand clothing flooded the market. It even got so bad that the African countries who absorb most of these 2nd hands asked to stop sending them. So alternative destinations were found in isolating materials made of denim pulp and techniques were improved to bring a garment back to its bare fiber. People worked, educated and played at home, often using improv solutions to make this happen but when it became clear that this new reality wasn’t going to go anytime soon more serious purchases were made to make the house more suitable for this prolonged intense inhabitation.
Partitioning, dividing and enclosing are amongst the most used keywords for the new Covid interior. While wide open spaces are comfortable to live and relax in, they are not too great when some people are cramming others are zooming and you are trying to finish that report. Curtains offer great solutions to solve that issue. Although they don’t take a way most of the noise, sometimes not seeing is already enough. Room dividers are another easy way to divide the living into a (temporary) multiple workspace. Designers have come up with some great new designs but even an old screen can be pimped up into a colorful often functional device. And if all fails, cabinets are here to help too. Although they can block natural light from going all the way into the space, they are a great help making that little home office nook.
Quick alterations to spaces to change the function resulted in the increased popularity of certain materials. Acrylic or Perspex was obviously sold out within seconds when it was clear that we needed screening to protect ourselves but also materials like OSB and proper quality plywood have increased in popularity. Designers are filling page after page of various interior magazines with entire interiors where walls, floors and ceilings are made from these basic construction materials covered with nothing more than a transparent coat of lacquer. A simple but useful inspiration for a father who wants to make 2 bedrooms for his growing kids or a spouse in need of a secluded space to work. Although not always – OSB is often made of (partially) recycled material and therefore a little bit better/ responsible than just using virgin wood (often made of tropical wood of disputable origin).
Being able to escape the crazy was and is one seriously necessary requirements when changing the interior. The bathroom proved to be a haven of tranquility in a sea of children with too much energy and no way to release it and a cranky spouse trying ones best not to explode. Bathrooms are turned into veritable home spas with eye for detail and need for good materials. The over washed and raggedy towels are replaced for luscious Egyptian cotton ones. The cracked tiles are finally replaced for something more natural and calming. Darker hotel style bathrooms with dark slate like tiles and big chromed faucets are doing really well as are light but fancy bathrooms with ‘handmade look’ tiles, wood and bamboo details and lots of plants. If we can’t spend it on a proper holiday, mamma wants a proper home spa.
Escapism is also applied in the rest of the house where old and especially vintage interiors make us believe to live another era. Designers use the weird and wonderful world of cult movies like Stanley Kubric’s 2001: A Space Odyssee to inspire interiors on. Wall art is being selected for the purpose to dream and wonder while gazing in its depths and strange landscapes which require prolonged investigation and pieces where the perspective is changing are doing especially well. The Dutch word ‘Niksen’ can be mentioned in this context for it preaches doing nothing – not even looking at your phone or listening to music – just sitting down and looking. What better way to do this with a painting that is not what it seems after the first or 100th look.