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9 Designers Spill Their Predictions On The Future Of Design Post-Pandemic

Wondering what the design industry would look like after the crisis ends? These designers share their thoughts.

The past weekend sent a major change our way—the country is slowly revving the economy with more movement through the modified rules of quarantine. Despite the shift, we deem it better still to remain at home to avoid the further spread of the virus. We’re still on lockdown, after all, and health and safety should be our utmost priority.


The ‘normal’ might have been put to a halt, but we never run out of ways to go on with our daily lives as usual. And while the future is a blur at present, adapting measures for the ‘new normal’ now is the essential task.


So we checked in with nine personalities in the design field about their way of life in times of crisis—what their days look like, how they keep their ideas and creativity flowing, and what their work-from-home workspaces look like (for a dose of inspiration!). And despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead, we asked for their prediction on the future of design post-pandemic. Read on and learn from these design experts!



Cynthia Almario


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“I have a routine that I follow. I normally wake up at 7am and then have meetings from 10 to 11:30am. Lunch is sacred because this is the highlight of my day. Ever since the lockdown started, I have been researching different cuisines to serve to my foodie family. This is the silver lining—eating delicious meals leisurely with my family. Afternoons are spent attending Zoom meetings, webinars, and listening to podcasts. I am still busy, but not ‘crazy toxic busy’ because I work from home. I get to enjoy my house, take breaks in between, and get to bond with my kids, which is priceless!  In the evening, I exercise by walking around our village with my sister.  A lot of times, I listen to a BNI Webinar from 9 to 10pm.  Weekends are for watching movies and relaxing.”


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“I believe in lifelong learning so I really get a lot of my inspiration from the different webinars and online trainings that I attend and through listening to a lot of different podcasts.  I also enjoy listening to the Masterclass series.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“I would like to think that we will all come out of this pandemic with a realization about what is truly important and essential in our life—family, relationships, health, and of course, a beautiful home. There will be a lot of emphasis on the office space at home to be more functional and beautiful. Gyms will be a most requested feature in the house as well as outdoor spaces. We will pivot and reinvent ourselves to be able to adapt to the new normal.”


Ivy Almario


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“There is a saying in Tagalog, “Ang taong masipag, masipag talaga, hahanap at hahanap ngmagagawa!” I guess I fall into that category. In this COVID-19 lockdown, one of my blessings is having the talent for hand drawings and sketches. I had been working with our architects and interior designers together with Cynthia through Viber, Whatsapp, and Zoom, making sure our design deliverables are still submitted in a timely fashion. That is the blessing of knowing one’s craft intimately. I can draw plans, elevations, sections and perspective renderings.”

How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“For leisure, I joined a 28-day ‘a sketch a day’ challenge and that was truly a hoot! We are also selling fruits and vegetables through Relish/Agrea for the Move Food Initiative. I, too, had used my love of art in designing our packaging. Last but not least, we are feeding a friend who was quarantined in his condo. Every meal is delivered in a brown paper bag and I make sure that I’m able to draw on the paper bag just to put a smile on his face. All of these sketching and drawing times have made the quarantine period fly by so quickly.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“Interior Design post COVID-19 will even be more relevant, as more people will realize that spending a lot of time in their ‘nest’ would necessitate them to ‘feather that nest!’

William Ti


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“I’ve been spending most of this lockdown going around hospitals building quarantine facilities for the city. We’ve currently built about 64 sites and 1100 beds. The few times I do get off from this, I try to read and sketch. I’ve always felt like sketching centers my thoughts.”


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“I try to find small wins in everyday life, whether it’s with a good piece of prose or some pleasant imagery. The charity and kindness of our society gives us hope and I take strength from my family and partners who are just always there.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“In the days and months to come, we will be faced with the reality that our city lacks the outdoor public spaces which we can enjoy as people. We must learn to appreciate the outdoors and embrace this lifestyle. We will need more open parks and pedestrian spaces that allow us to live life as freely as possible in a much healthier environment. Pedestrian mobility and much wider paths must be given priority. Streets should be pedestrianization and living a short walk away from your work must be encouraged.


These are lifestyle changes we must encourage and promote through social infrastructure. We need space to live. It’s not about putting up barriers but creating enough space to accommodate the people. In social distancing, there is still the social. We must become conscious of the spaces we need and occupy. We should not subscribe to segregation and territoriality. But rather, encourage openness and spread out utilization of public space. We now appreciate the importance of bigger homes. In the end, they are that which we need to focus on the most.


Consumerism should be redirected to providing healthier homes with more space and better facilities. Balconies and verandas, roof decks and open amenities, should be encouraged and mandated as opposed to ever more parking spaces. We must realize where our priorities lie.


We have one of the densest cities in the world. We must build up enough space to accommodate this density instead of squeezing everyone together in ever tighter spaces. We cannot continue to build homes that are barely bigger than the parking spaces that come with it. As our families and children begin to spend more time at home together, we must have homes in which we can grow together.”


Anthony Nazareno


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“Time has been a wonderful friend these days. It gives enough of itself to make me try to learn a new language, do a journal, read books that have been gathering dust, watch interesting documentaries, catch up with my family, and most importantly, I’ve found time to reflect and pray. Work has still been constant throughout the ECQ, albeit at a much slower pace. However, I, together with some personal friends and those in the design and construction industry, have found ways to be part of the solution to the problem plaguing us all. So much of our fellow Filipinos find themselves helpless in the current situation and those of us who can help must do so. This is a time where our humanity can help save humanity.”


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“The crisis itself is a source of inspiration. Designers need to understand how we can make architecture and design adapt to a world that is being reshaped before our eyes. Designers have always had the capacity to make significant changes in affecting our lifestyle. Now, we are in a position to help once again by focusing our energies on how to improve the quality of life we have recently been forced to live with.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“It appears that hands are one of the conduits to catching this virus and likely any future viruses that will plague us. So I see more product designs focusing on hand independence, much more so than we do now. We can expect a world where we can practically walk or live with our hands in our pockets all day and have the same productivity as we do now, if not more. In the world of information technology, we are already there. It will now be an integration of these technologies into the products we use in our everyday lives.”


Cathy Saldana


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“Time is a gift that has been given to most of us now who aren’t front liners. I never had the time to organize my design books, my reference files for projects, and my business cards from all over the world—and now, I have done just that! I am keeping busy, more than ever, with online meetings with clients, my studio teams and attending webinars as well as speaking in some. I am rereading books that I have long wanted to revisit and have also opened crisp new pages of books that I bought but never got to read. I am also happily spending quality time with my husband Alex and our three dogs. I’m able to sleep full eight hours, get to do pilates and yoga for exercise. Of course, I was finally able to watch movies, as I proudly completed, quite belatedly, the Game of Thrones series.”


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“I pray as much as I can, I reflect on all that is happening worldwide, and I cling on to hope and keep my faith even stronger. I generate positivity and look for solutions and opportunities. 


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“The new design concepts will focus on the expansion of personal space. There will be more boundaries to be established, and the concept of large open shared spaces will be reworked. There will be more materials that are easily cleaned. Sanitation modules and disinfecting stations will be the norm. Homes may require shoe stations by the door, and some shower rooms will be close to entrances in some office and factory buildings. Luxury design will continue on as this already emphasizes social distancing and isolation. Remote locations for resort escapes will be in vogue. Residential high rise spaces will feature balconies for urban gardening. Lobbies will showcase isolation pods. As much as possible, touchless elements will be in place. Life and design will never be the same again, but it will all be good for humanity.”


Misty Floro & Pai Edles


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

Misty: “I've been doing a lot of urban gardening lately. Before COVID-19, I was into ornamental plants, cacti, succulents, and carnivorous plants. But now, because of the push towards self-sustainability, I tried planting vegetables (from kitchen scraps or from seeds). Currently, I have red bell pepper, upo, arugula, pechay, kangkong, mustard, garlic and potato all growing in our balcony garden. This ECQ, I have also learned how to cook, but just the basics. Pai is the expert chef in this household. I also enjoy cleaning and organizing. We recently organized our pantry and it's satisfying to have everything in its right place.”

Pai: “We have also participated in ‘help from home’ initiatives such as donation drives for PPEs and meals for frontliners, sanitation tents for hospitals, and the like. There is much that we can do to help even if we are staying home. I have also been cooking a lot. Good food makes good design. I also enjoy playing with our cat, Pasta. We are so thankful to have Pasta here at home with us because he brings us so much joy.”

Misty & Pai: “A lot of our time is also spent working from home. We touch base with our team three days a week via Google Hangouts or Zoom. Designing didn't stop for us. We are still working on our current and new projects. Staying home has also made us reflect on what life will be like after the pandemic. What will interiors be like? How can we design better and safer spaces during and post pandemic? This reflection inspired us to do a small ECQ project with our team. More than ever, we at Morfosis are motivated to continue to find design solutions to the challenges brought about by the pandemic.”



How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?


M: “Having a comfortable home is now considered essential since a lot of us are now spending time at home. I find that having a decluttered space makes for a clear mind and helps combat anxieties brought about by the pandemic. I also read a lot online, on design or any topic, but especially articles regarding post-pandemic changes and projections. This gives me a lot of ideas I could apply for our design practice.”


P: “I try to remain hopeful and positive despite the pandemic. There are a lot of realizations COVID-19 has brought about, and one of them is the importance of human connection. Isolation tends to magnify this. I am thankful to have people in my life such as family, friends, and the Morfosis team, who inspire me and keep me going.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

M & P: “There will be a lot of changes in interior design because of the pandemic, which will basically center upon the question: How can we design better and safer spaces during and post-COVID-19? There will be a shift in mindset—the focus will be on what is essential and relevant to our times. Increasingly, homes will be designed with sanitation stations. This will also be a requirement for non-residential spaces such as places of work and places of mass gathering.

Some other requirements would be a well-designed home offices that are separate from places of rest, bigger storage/pantry for stock of food and non-food items, good ventilation and air flow, clients will request for more easy to clean surfaces and finishes, and the use of technology to make the home or spaces more efficient. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected each person in the world on a very personal level. We will be forced to rethink what is essential, and this includes how we think about interior design.

For us at Morfosis, we have always viewed interior design as something more than just aesthetics—interior design is all about improving the quality of life. Life will continue after COVD-19, but can we go back to how life used to be pre-COVID-19? We think not. But we remain hopeful and positive that humankind will be able to cope, adapt, and overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic.”


Barbie Pardo


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“Now that all event planning is on pause, I finally have time to do all the things I wanted to do when I wished I had less work. Like everyone else, we took the time to declutter and clean up. But my weekdays lately are quite busy as I am the main home school teacher now of three kids aged 10, 8 and 7. Keeping the attention of the kids for schoolwork requires more creativity than I thought! I put stuff they have to memorize into a song and I have to draw examples to make them understand better for example. To mix it up, I move the kids' study areas, too. Their usual  study desk is in their bedrooms way too close to their toys (aka distractions), so I often convert my dining table into a study area.


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“I have a new appreciation for simpler things during lockdown. The kids and I have discovered nooks at home we have never used before. And lately, we have been building pillow forts at home using pillows, blankets, tripods and sticks! We are limited to items we have on hand so it's quite an exercise in creativity!”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“I predict celebrations will be more intimate in nature. We will see less of those ‘everyone is invited’ sort of events. Curation will be of the utmost importance. More curated food, decor, space, and even the guest lists! Also, a sanitation station will be a normal sight for event spaces as well as homes. Shoe disinfecting pads, masks, and alcohol will be a must. Now more than ever, we will have a new appreciation for a practical and clean home. And perhaps, even gardens that include home farming areas.”


Wilmer Lopez


How are you spending your time at home nowadays?

“Initially, it was a big adjustment when my usual routine of waking up each day and preparing to go to work suddenly got interrupted. Everything was on full stop. I now try to find ways to just look at it on a day-to-day basis; doing things that I feel that I want to do. Or sometimes, doing nothing at all. It’s my way of coping and eventually accepting that life has changed right after the lockdown. Currently, I find myself looking for things that I have control of. I do gardening, cook pasta, look at old pictures, and I have started writing again. It was the perfect opportunity to go back to the things I loved doing.”


How do you keep on inspiring yourself in spite of the current crisis?

“It was hard at the beginning when you can’t see what the future would look like. But in some ways, I was still able to find inspiration. I went to YouTube and watched nature videos, forests and trails that I imagined I could get lost in. I read books on crystals, which I started collecting mid last year to add some sense of grounding and protection in my life. I also transformed my bedroom into my personal safe space—my place of escape. Since I have no control of the events outside, creating my own refuge was very important to my self-care. I took my favorite midcentury pieces into my bedroom and arranged them with art and a toy. It becomes my daily dose of creative inspiration since it is also where I work. I created new rituals. I light up sage for a nature scent, turn on my boost-me-up playlist to get into a positive mood, and then face the day.”


What do you think the future of style and design will be post-COVID 19 pandemic?

“I think the future of design will primarily focus on people. Essentially, the ultimate reason in designing is to show how people and the environment can adapt to the future. Prime concern will be safety. Just like Architect Louis Sullivan said, ‘Form follows function.’ The evolution of design shows that functionality is priority. Now more than ever, every architecture and interiors and every other space will consider a person’s health and overall well-being above everything else. COVID-19 will permanently change our lives and lifestyle.

In response to the pandemic in the 1920s, Le Corbusier became obsessed with cleanliness. For example, he viewed light and air as being medicinal and created spaces that circulated air and had huge openings for light to get in. Alvar Aalto similarly responded with his Paimio chair, which is made of birch plywood for easy cleaning and designed at an angle to ease a patient’s breathing. We can learn from their examples and approach post-quarantine (and post-pandemic life) with this health-focused mindset. As early as now, my team and I are adapting this new kind of thinking so we can prepare for the coming days ahead. The quarantine period has become a time for research and finding solutions so we can ultimately live life to the fullest even with the challenges that we face.”