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How important is the work of interior designers?

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COVID-19 forces us to question our living spaces. What role can interior designers play in this?

By definition, the task of interior designers is to create beautiful, comfortable and functional interiors using the means of space, light, color, materials and furniture - while taking into account the wishes and requirements of the customers. Can we actually do without it? We asked interior professionals around the world for their answers.

Interior design improves the quality of life

"Our environment has a huge impact on how we behave and feel. The role of interior designer is more important than ever when we retire to our homes during exit restrictions," says Australian interior designer Lynne Bradley.

But the design of private rooms also influences whether we feel comfortable. That is why interior designer is "a profession that affects people", says expert Margaux Carnevali from Paris. "Our eyes need the visual harmony of colours, shapes and we need well-adapted ergonomics. Everyone lives on a certain number of square meters. Our job is to find solutions to make these square meters more livable. The most common thing is to give the impression of larger rooms."

"I think it is essential to create a certain sense of wellbeing in an apartment. Designing interiors where people can find themselves and use the space better," emphasises Elodie Ricord, who works as an interior designer in Monaco. "It is not vital. But it is necessary for personal well-being," said Ricord. "The therapeutic role of interior design is to present the client's ideas in material form. If this is done well, the builders are very happy. Because the customer recognises himself in the work of the interior designer. It is a form of therapy."

For Ulrike Kabyl, interior designer from Berlin, a comfortable home is particularly important under the current circumstances. "When we retreat to our four walls, we leave the stress outside, feel good, find peace and maybe also inspiration.... Interior designers can help create such retreats."

The Japanese living expert Hiroko Machida uses neuro-aesthetics for her work. Science examines what happens in our brains when watching a work of art, a play or a movie and what beneficial stimuli it leaves behind. "I work on interiors that reduce stress and strengthen the immune system. We are experimenting with interior design projects that use the neuro-aesthetic research at the University of London," she says.

Interior designers help to consume more consciously

Overconsumption is also a problem when it comes to interior design. "I hope that the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic will show us that we are consuming too much. For this I think the interior design is necessary. Because if it is well thought out, it allows you to consume less," says Margaux Carnevali.

For the interior designer Maria Roussos, the profession will focus on "slow living", sustainable development, our connection with nature and the importance of our families and friends. This will lead us to consume less, but more consciously.

Interior designers help us to adapt our rooms to changes

Due to the pandemic, we used our home completely differently than before. "Our houses have become a place where you can retreat, where you feel safe, where you meet, but also where you have a private space. Living spaces are now classrooms, offices, cinemas, clubs and gyms," says Bradley. "I believe that after COVID, values ... and habits will change significantly, as will our homes. In future, the function of rooms will differ significantly from what they used to be." According to the expert, interior designers could play an important role in adapting our apartments to these social and societal changes.

Machida uses Japan as an example of the impact of her profession on society. She says 70 percent of Japanese live in cities and live such a busy life that they only use their homes to sleep. This changes drastically due to the coronavirus. Many people live in houses and apartments where they cannot relax due to lack of space and a room layout that is not adapted to these circumstances.

"Think of our information-hungry, networked society in which we live. We hardly put our smartphones down. It causes mental exhaustion in many people," Machida says. "These are some of the problems that interior designers are increasingly being asked to think about. The world is changing rapidly, our society is based on competition and conflicts. Interior designers have to think about each and every one of these social issues.... Society expects us to do that," says Machida.

Are interior designers indispensable for society?

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An English author and journalist. I was a reporter for 12 years for the UK media and My first novel was published in 2010.
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