Even as COVID-19 restrictions and precautions begin to ease, the virus is leaving a lasting impact on the design industry. With the demand for safe, carefully designed spaces remaining high, designers and architects are continuing to look for new ways to embrace well-being and enhance health. Dr. Susan Chung, the vice president of research for the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), told Forbes the four wellness-focused design innovations she anticipates will gain popularity this year and beyond.
Chung expects to see more materials and finishes with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, such as quartz, microbicidal paint, and cork flooring. She also cites that copper sinks and countertops are gaining traction.
Touchless technology and voice activation
Although smart products have been steadily gaining momentum over the years, Chung said these offerings now have “higher adoption among homeowners and developers, and with a keenness towards wellness.” Faucet brands aligned their products to comply with CDC handwashing guidelines and touchless technology is appearing across toilets, cabinetry, and appliances.
Upgraded air filtration
According to Chung, “upgrading air filters (HEPA, higher MERV ratings) and increasing outdoor air intake in HVAC systems” is top of mind. Plus, demand for portable air purifiers also increased following the CDC guideline that the virus could be transmitted through aerosols in poorly ventilated areas.
Human behavior supports
Chung also forecasts that technology that positively assists human behavior will also be on the rise. “I envision technology that monitors outdoor and indoor air quality and temperature together to prompt occupants to open windows for natural ventilation or automatically run ventilation/purification systems to ensure good air quality while also considering occupant preferences,” she says.