Interior Design Industry After the Pandemic — the New Normal

It has been almost three months and we are still counting… All of us have been adapting to this new normal since this is the “first” for everyone. Not only trying to survive, but we keep making initiatives, and a lot of strategy changes. It has drained our energy so much if we’re being honest to ourselves because the reality tells us that we’re possibly going back to “zero”. If we were playing a game, we would most likely restart all over again.

But, there is “rest” in “restart”. Being aware of the worst scenario doesn’t hinder us from learning the art of taking a rest. Restart to reflect. Restart to make our vision clearer. Restart to come back stronger.

In this turbulent time, we have been learning and observing the changes in human behaviors due to the global pandemic of Covid-19, where these transformations absolutely affect the interior design industry, especially the commercial space. Here are the aspects that are likely going to change after the pandemic, maybe forever:

Circulation of Seatings

Every dining and cafe has a certain seating circulation, it depends on the objective of the business. Following the normal standard, we have to divide the net area with 1,7 to 1,9 sqm per pax. Let’s say we have 100 sqm to design, ideally it can cover 50-55 persons or less for a fine dining restaurant.

Sooner or later this normal will be replaced, considering the social distancing practice. The new normal will likely require us to approach fine dining seating area regulation. The distance between one to another chair will be set apart farther, hence the number of seats will be reduced accordingly.

Five Chairs or Less

In the past few years, the “communal” concept was the trend, we can find a lot of them in lifestyle joints or some co-working spaces. But as people become more cautious about health and distance, the maximum seatings per group will probably only consist of 5 chairs or less.

But if what we have is a communal table, we can reduce the chair and make space for around 1,2 to 1,5 meter between one chair and another. As for the casual dining restaurant, we can easily reduce the number of chairs for about 40-50%. It is easier said than done, indeed, but this is temporary and we are in this together.

Hand Washing Area

There was also a forgotten trend where every casual dining restaurant provides a hand washing area at the back. After this pandemic where we have been facing the new normal, the trend is going to turn the other way as sanitation will become a big deal for each one of us. Ergo, when we draw a layout in the future, we should consider placing it in the front door area where the customer makes an entrance.

Those three forecasts on the commercial interior design above are made based on our research and a case study on our own project. Here we present to you the result of the case study on Native Island, Pantai Indah Kapuk. The net area is 54 sqm and it initially can cover 57 pax, but after we apply the new normal policy, it can only cover 27 pax. The layout simulation shows that there is a reduction of almost 55% of the capacity.

Case Study – Layout Simulation

The trend is seemingly going a decade backward, but technology especially social media will help us to stand up again. We have to take note and know that in the end interior design or whatever it is, will always evolve according to consumer behavior. As interior designers, we should learn and adapt to it starting from today through our own daily lives, shouldn’t we? We are in this together, so let’s have faith that the brighter future is waiting for us ahead.

Letter to you later,

IOOR Studio

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