Workplace design post COVID-19 with Camira’s Group Design Manager, Ciara Crossan

In light of the current pandemic, Camira’s Group Design Manager, Ciara Crossan, told us how she foresees workplace design changing post COVID-19.

As we navigate our way through these turbulent times, our way of life and way we approach design is ultimately changing as we adapt to a state of abnormality.

Looking ahead, we expect life to return to a new normality. One that focuses very much on keeping spaces clean and healthy, with fabrics that play their part in the new era of public health hygiene, whilst also capturing the essence of community and comfort. As we slowly emerge from working exclusively from home, the trend for resimercial design will gain further momentum as we seek familiarity and reassurance within both corporate and home office environments. With this in mind, we envisage designers will look to source products that offer balance and bring a sense of calm to commercial interiors whilst having new specification opportunities for the home office with true domestic appeal   

The mantra ‘less is more’ is likely to be an overarching trend as we go back to basics; embracing the restraints that have become part of our new normality. We anticipate streamlined yet tasteful neutral palettes to be adopted, allowing customers to coordinate with existing collections and schemes. For us, this means focusing on creating timeless, quality products that ensure longevity. Sustainable thinking and materiality will take on even more importance. As we develop our collections for 2020/2021, we are underpinning these with the very notion outlined above.

From a more product-specific level, Ciara also anticipates:

As we all know, COVID-19 has caused global turmoil and placed new emphasis on issues of hygiene and sanitation. While it’s impossible to apply social distancing to the furniture we sit on, what we can do is make our upholstery as safe and as easy to clean as possible when it comes to infection control. With this in mind, we expect antimicrobial and bleach cleanable fabrics to surge in popularity as workplaces look to install preventative measures such as screens and panels.

At Camira, we’ve curated our collection of performance fabrics and vinyls for the contract market here whilst we look to expand our collection of antimicrobial products.

In regards to the culture of the workplace, Ciara suggests that:

The notion of seeking calm and balance within the workplace is only going to accelerate as we emerge from our new normality. Many of us have grown used to working within the comfort of our homes, which will inevitably highlight the overly corporate feel of some office spaces. With this in mind, we expect companies to reflect on the aesthetics of the workplace. Is there a breakout space for collaborative working (with 2m distancing considered, of course)? Are there dedicated pods for those seeking out silence? And how about acoustics? As the meeting room takes on a very different format, these are all factors designers will need to consider.

Our general outlook on work/life balance is undoubtedly set to change as we evaluate what really matters most to us in life. Perhaps we will see more companies adapting their flexible working policies as hours are staggered to ease over-crowding. Now many of us view our hour’s daily exercise as intrinsic to our weekday routine, will we see more colleagues taking up cycle to work initiatives or setting up running clubs?

At Camira we’re lucky in the sense that we adopt a sustainable approach to everything we do. From the products we design to the people that make Camira what it is, sustainability is part of our DNA.

As we emerge from this crisis, sustainability is only going to become more important as we’ve had the time to reflect on our world and how our lifestyle impacts it. As we become increasingly aware of looking after our own wellbeing, we will be even more conscious of our planet’s wellbeing. Balancing both requirements for safe, clean spaces with a continued need for environmentally friendly products – a common brief we expect designers to face moving forward.

Find more information on Camira’s range of sustainable fabrics through BCFA Product Finder.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys' experience as a furniture designer, along with her in-depth marketing knowledge, makes her uniquely placed to work with the BCFA as the Editor of Design Insider and run her marketing business, Method Communications.
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