Home is fundamental to so many basic things in life. It is a place where one lives or was brought up. The very word evokes the essence and qualities that home needs to be and to have. It supposes the feeling of belonging. Home should be a refuge, a sanctuary, a place of safety, security, comfort, happiness, and joy. Home captures the importance of having a loving home and a home that is loved. And recently, as a consequence of the pandemic, “home” has taken on an even greater responsibility in our lives. Home, living and well-being are synonymous.
We can appreciate today’s challenge of delivering the ambitious housing targets, some 300,000 new homes a year are needed. It is an enormous task. So, it is no wonder that in trying to achieve this quota, numbers rule the day, and that we refer to the places where people live as ‘units.’ But the term unit suggests and promotes quantity over quality. It lacks both human soul and aspiration.
Whether we are designers, developers, or housing providers, we need to remember that every unit is someone’s home, irrespective of its type, size, or socio-economic group.
Home is where the heart is and that is unlikely to be found in a unit. We should ban the use of the term unit when home is meant.
Only if we think of home, can we begin to focus on what is valued, and the qualities that are needed to create homes that are loved and cherished; “home, sweet home”.
Pollard Thomas Edwards
Given the current climate emergency coupled with accelerating increases in the cost of energy and materials, designers should be spearheading an anti-trend movement. How can it be seen as desirable or sustainable for colours or styles to have such ephemeral appeal that people would feel compelled to redo their rooms on an annual basis?
Interior trends, like any other fashions, capture a moment in time. They are appealing while they are trending but given the cost of redoing an interior scheme, what could be worse thanin five years’ time having someone walk into your living room, look around and say, ‘Ah yes, spring/summer 2022’’?
By contrast with trends, lifestyle evolution happens gradually. Deep seated changes fueled by developments in technology and morphing societal needs go beyond mere fashion. As true humanists, designers must be aware of these changes and their impact on the way people want and need to live.
For example, there is evidence that the recent fashion for open plan living is fading as more people work from home and multigenerational households are once again becoming common. The house is no longer just a dormitory but has become a place where the full range of human activities for all ages takes place, and this necessitates the design of multi-use zones, acoustic separation and different types of storage if it is to succeed as a place to live.
Instead of focusing on trends, the interiors we design should be timeless in style and built to last. Spaces need to have greater flexibility of use, existing furniture should be restored and repurposed whenever possible and designers must learn to design for the future needs of their clients, so that they will be able to love and enjoy living in their homes unchanged for many years to come.
Tessuto Interiors Ltd
The Government Kickstart scheme has provided unexpected opportunities for both young people and employers alike. I run a small architectural practice based in Sevenoaks, specialising in bespoke private residential and commercial projects. Pre-Covid we were poised to start growing the practice however I was wary of fluctuating work loads and balancing these with healthy turn-over and cash flow. The Government Kickstart scheme meant I could trial run growing the business without much financial risk whilst at the same time, nurturing young enthusiastic graduates. Furthermore, I switched from being an office based practice to a virtual practice, which meant that I could expand the recruitment pool. We are now a 7-strong diverse team of enthusiastic professionals, each of us working remotely from different parts of the country. One member is based in Liverpool which in itself opens up other possibilities. Were this scheme to become a permanent set up, might it be possible to distribute job opportunities more evenly throughout the country?
Tara De Linde
Architect | Director
De Linde Architects
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