How do global disasters affect new design?

new design

Upon stepping into the 20th century, the modern bathroom began to evolve alongside outbreaks of cholera, tuberculosis and influenza. It started to implement standard features to promote cleanliness and health in the home during widespread public health problems.

After the Great Depression, the design of appliances and vehicles became industrial and minimalist. The design is trending towards “streamline” design, which focused on sleek shapes and round edges.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has made us reconsider design in a way that addresses most of the large existential crisis of today. The effect of this pandemic in different industries include:

New design in vehicles: Transparent and feasible

The pandemic has affected three major areas of the car industry:

  • Autonomous driving
  • Electrification
  • Circularity, or an economic system that can ensure continual use of resources and eliminate waste

For instance, Polestar Precept, an electric concept car by Polestar has implemented the use of flax fiber into the car’s design. Flax fiber can reduce 80% of the plastic content of the car and it is 50% lighter than conventional interior panels.

Besides, designers of Volvo auto are figuring out ways to incorporate systems required for autonomous driving into the design. That includes implementing cameras, radars and laser scanners. For example, the fully autonomous electric vehicle, Volvo 360c was to place the laser scanner device on the roof, “celebrating it and treating it like a technological gem.”

Max Missoni, the design director of Polestar said that they have to ensure products are designed to be reused and recycled. By incorporating these ideas at the conception and incorporate them into the design process, they’re much closer to a sustainable future.

Public spaces of a COVID-19 world

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many urban planners and architects are thinking about how to best utilize outdoor spaces to promote health safety concerns. For example, alternate forms of transport, widened sidewalks, closed down streets to cars are created for social distancing. Moreover, street parking spots are also replaced by extended restaurants offering outdoor dining, thus increasing the distance between people.

New design in workplaces: Technological productivity and safety

Interior designers are planning on designs that can increase sunlight and fresh air flow into workplaces. Most importantly is creating more sanitization stations for workers to sanitize their hands all the time.

Another exhilarating development in workplaces is retooling for more virtual collaboration. Since workers had experienced working remotely, it is unlikely for them to return to offices daily. Hence, designers are trying to incorporate technology in a way that remote workers will not downgrade to a lesser status.

One thing to be certain is workplaces will encompass a hybrid reality, with integrated digital collaboration technologies, virtual conferences and other smart technologies.


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How global crisis affects design


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