“People’s interests have turned to sustainability, both in the home and in society”

Changes for the better

The interior design industry considers lessons learned through the pandemic


JULY 2021 Industry Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters

The world of interior design was turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic. Rapid changes had to be made to keep people safe in public spaces while remote working spaces had to become more liveable — and the industry came through. Now that vaccines are being distributed around the world and people are cautiously beginning to return to past routines, how are firms in the interior design space responding?

Global styles

Many are looking to companies with decades of experience to meet their interior design needs. Fritz Hansen’s longevity is a testament to its expertise.

“Founded in Denmark in 1872, Fritz Hansen is a global leader in furniture, lighting, and accessory design and production,” says Mayuko Aizawa, head of the Japan office. “Driven by a passion for beauty, quality, and craftsmanship, our company creates products that embody the modern, Nordic lifestyle — a result of our collaboration with visionary artists, designers, and architects from around the world.”

As a result of the changes that have been made during the pandemic, people have become more particular about what they want, and this is especially true when moving from one country to another. Companies such as West Canada Homes are well-positioned to respond to all of their customers’ specific requirements.

“We act as the eyes, ears and voice of our clients, as we negotiate Japan’s unique cultural context and ensure that each project we work on goes smoothly,” says Paul Nikel, president. “We help pick architects who best match the brief, and guide our clients through the tendering and contractor selection process, while meeting the exacting standards for which we are known.”

Lessons learned

Fritz Hansen is responding to people increasingly staying home by offering pieces that appeal to their customers’ changing priorities for their surroundings.

“I’ve noticed an increase in demand for timeless interiors as ‘stay-home’ lifestyles became more commonplace, while consumption for travel, eating out, and fashion, among other things, have decreased,” Aizawa says. “People’s interests have turned to sustainability, both in the home and in society. So, we will continue to provide the people of Japan with furniture, lighting, and accessories of exquisite design and high quality.

As with every sector, the pandemic has forced interior design firms to take steps to adapt to the new business context.

“The digitalisation of our business is more important than ever,” says CEO and owner of Scandinavian Living, Henrik Kohlberg. “We want to create a closer connection to our end-users, and digitalisation will help us take the next step to reaching them directly, eventually through our own online shop.”

Improving on the past

Some changes that have been made will become part of a new normal. West Canada Homes’ Nikel believes that people’s idea of what a holiday home should be is already different to what it was before the coronavirus.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of a get-away property. It was the first global test of working from home, an experience that has shifted all of us towards accepting more flexible working options,” he explains. “Interior design will need to ensure that all resort properties are more than just places to relax, but that they can also be an office-away-from-the-office.”

It is also possible that, just as homes become more office-like, offices are becoming more home-like.

“I believe that workspaces and meeting facilities at the office will be upgraded and made more cozy and become more like the home,” says Scandinavian Living’s Kohlberg. “In time, the differences between working from home and being at the office will grow less and less significant.”

Once the pandemic is finally over, we can hope that a more comfortable life, both at work and at home, is right around the corner.