When it comes to predicting design trends for 2020 and beyond, little did we know that we would have to take into consideration the current pandemic. When designing common spaces in condominiums, designers and architects are more adept at finding forward-thinking design solutions with the health, safety and well-being of residents in mind. This is particularly true in multi-residential refurbishment projects, as we reinvent amenity spaces, including lobbies, party rooms, lounge areas and mailrooms.
Bringing a fresh sensibility to this process, we recognize that the building materials we use are key. From alloys to metal and glass to non-porous and non-absorbent surfaces, choices of materials and design are not just aesthetically fashionable but are precautionary measures for better infection control. Taking cue from hospital design, we can more easily facilitate cleaning and wellness protocols by avoiding overly intricate designs in high-touch surfaces, like handles, buttons and railings. We are finding a new balance between bold design statements and practical restraints.
A flat, smooth façade makes it easier to clean and disinfect. Cambria’s new 2020 collection of quartz surfaces, including the Big Sur Mist and Sanibel Shoreline designs, are perfect examples. An even bigger bonus is that they’re produced from pre-consumer recycled content as certified by SCS Global Services. As designers, we can feel good about sourcing such products as they meet our design requirements and are environmentally-friendly. We will continue to see large format quartz and porcelain slabs being used for wall cladding, fireplace cladding, as well as vinyl wallpaper, since both are wipeable and easy to sanitize.
Architectural details are also being simplified with fewer horizontal surfaces – particularly ledges and complex baseboards. Instead, we are seeing wood being used to draw the eye vertically through panelling and millwork. The streamline profile of organically-derived materials gives spaces a more heightened appearance, along with a deeper sense of connection to nature. From Scandinavian inspirations, light woods will make a popular comeback, especially in modern settings.
Colour will play a big part in our interiors, as opting for happy and bright tones can revitalize the spirit of a home. There doesn’t have to be a lot of colour, but some contrast will elevate the interiors to another level. Quieter background colours will be balanced with bursts of vibrant hues, especially in lobbies and party rooms. As colour trends evolve into 2021, selecting colours that enliven a space is truly important in uplifting our mental states and helping us to move forward in our “new normalcy.”
While many are escaping to the great outdoors as a source of tranquility and calm, there are also ways to bring a sense of peace and harmony to the indoors. Decorating with live plants rather than faux will strengthen the human-nature connection and has the added perk of purifying our air supplies.
Our interior spaces are so important for our well-being and for the prevention of disease. With this in mind, Kravet is doing their part with their bleach cleanable fabrics, such as Crypton, Stakleen, Inside Out, Silicone and Extreme Performance. These fabrics are typically used in healthcare environments; however, they are contract-viable and should be considered for upholstery and window treatments in residential settings too. Electric curtain track systems for drapery are also a great idea to prevent people from touching the fabric panels. They can be operated from smartphones, tablets or remote controls.
As we embrace the current situation, it makes us more aware of how we are connected, how we interact with one another and when we must be mindful of another person’s space. Subtle visual cues, such as a pattern on a floor or directional stickers, can make all the difference in encouraging residents to walk in a certain path. Furthermore, creating safe spaces where residents can safely pick up and drop off packages and other materials is imperative, as online shopping has skyrocketed during this time.
Lastly, with more people working from home, co-working spaces in condominiums have become vital, coveted spaces. Mood-lifting use of colour, unexpected patterns, modular furniture and task lighting are all considerations when designing these coherent, focused atmospheres. Condominium amenities typically improve quality of life and provide a lifestyle and sense of community to its residents. Now, equally regarded is the health and safety of its owners. As designers and architects broaden and shape these spaces, we are encouraged to think beyond the standard and find unconventional materials and incorporate them in the condominium’s aesthetic lexicon.
Darlene Janeiro is principal of Darlene Janeiro Design Group Inc. She specializes in condominium refurbishment projects, with more than 15 years of experience in the design industry. Her entrepreneurial leadership style and extensive knowledge of home décor and design trends is paramount to serve her impressive roster of residential and commercial clientele. darlenejaneirodesign.com