Artist and idealist, I approach design with pure creativity, taking a project at the root and building a unique story to create meaningful designs. Ethics, culture and sustainability are taking the hospitality and leisure sector to a deeper level and are aspects that I value in order to enrich the well-being of end-user experience and transcend through design.
Over the last year, we haven’t fully managed to find a new flow; in and out of lockdown, broken habits, working from an office, working from home, dining out and eating in have all affected this.
We have never been so connected to technology and disconnected to human beings. We are confused, we don’t know where we are or where we are going.
There’s a mix of feelings between craving to go out and socialise and being scared of COVID-19 and how it could affect our family and friends. We are living with a lot of unknown questions which create doubts and can lead to anxiety.
HOW HAS THIS CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE OF DESIGN?
What formed part of our normal human nature and culture has been removed from us. We’ve had to adapt to live with the basics, and at the same time realise what is needed to bring more material comfort to our environments. Many of us have been decluttering our lives and rethinking our approach to health and well-being, bringing back the pleasures of life as best we can.
Designers have always needed to reach users on different cognitive levels, but now more than ever, they must accommodate users’ needs and responses in order to make them feel safe and cared for.
BUILDING TRUST THROUGH DESIGN AND OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS DESIGNERS
The key element is to predict changing needs and work with clients to develop new strategies and technologies in order to redefine spaces and update operations post COVID-19. Adapting circulation paths and keeping flexibility within layouts without negatively impacting on the energy within spaces will be fundamental.
Modular solutions could offer a cost-effective approach and help spaces adapt distancing layouts without compromising the quality of the user experience, allowing spaces to evolve with any challenges we might face in the future. Communication through wording and graphics will have to be integrated to make guests feel safe and to educate them to the new rules of the game.
Contactless technology will inevitably form part of design in the future, even though I secretly wish that some rebellious brands will say no and keep as much of a human connection as they can!
SO HOW DO WE CREATE A SEAMLESS DESIGN, NOT LETTING THE SCARS OF COVID-19 TAKE OVER THE DREAM?
Backstage interior design is not that glamorous. At the user end, it’s the aesthetics that customers and clients will remember. New trends will be a response to the need of the guest, discovering, exploring, innovating, creating and being different.
Splashes of bold colours will certainly help create joyful environments and dark backgrounds will convey cosiness in more airy spaces. Mobile decorative screens will be more present and could be designed to transform spaces or be reused for a new purpose when they are no longer needed, rather than discarding them.
The use of plants in interior design is a useful tool which can be used to separate spaces in addition to cleaning the air. Delivering comfort will be indispensable and can be achieved through soft furnishings or using wider furniture to give an impression of a fuller space.
After the dull days of isolation, everybody will strive for escapism which can be expressed in different ways. Adding personal touches, telling a story or bringing some fun with crafted pieces which mark individuality will help customers to engage with the brand.
POSITIVELY THINKING FORWARD
Resilient and creative clients have already been revisiting their operation and adapting to a new way of consuming. Ultimately, customers will want to connect with a brand beyond their dining experience.
This is where we can help our clients more than before – by building a trusted brand with strong values, integrity and authenticity through creative and innovate interior design.
“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity” (Albert Einstein)
So, let’s make it happen together!
Mathilde Le Villain
Founder at La Villaine, an interior design-led creative studio