The uprising of Coronavirus has caused about 900 million people around the world to remain at home. While this situation has brought a wave of misery, uncertainty, and de-motivation, we want to remind you that we might have little control of this situation, we all have full control of our response and our time. We encourage all designers and architects to do what we do best: face the future with optimism and creativity, and adapt to the current status so that when the pandemic passes, which it will, we will emerge ready to design for a better future.
As a young practice, how are you dealing with the lock down & subsequent halt in businesses?
“Home office” is a practice that has become quite common during the last few years.
Lifestyle Dessein is a young Interior Design studio, founded by brother-sister duo, Abhinav & Jayati Gupta in 2015. Their studio is located in the basement of their residence in New Delhi. They began working in a co-working space during their initial years. Moving their studio to their residence, helped in cutting down on travel time, which means more time available for meetings and planning site visits effectively. It also helped in conducting meetings at odd hours with clients, which wasn’t possible due to the limitations of a co-working setup. Whether through quarantine or as a company precaution, the question is being asked around the world: are we seeing the beginning of the end of the traditional office typology?
Coronavirus will not directly and inevitably destroy the concept of working in traditional office buildings. However, it has indeed forced a major ‘work-from-home’ experiment that, when businesses, cities, and societies return to normality, it may cause a reflection on the benefits of working from home, or at the very least, a change in the traditional office typology.
Here are a few points for young designers to get through the lockdown successfully:
Create a routine for yourself:
During this lockdown, it works better to keep the morning routine as if we were going to the office. So that means: get dressed comfortably, but not in sweats. Have an early, healthy breakfast, and start work at a normal hour. As far as teamwork goes, we communicate clearly and as often as necessary with team members, clients, and vendors to keep the flow more effective. This helps in maintaining a connection with on-going projects and to prepare ourselves for post lockdown.
Stay connected and prepare towards a comeback:
It is only natural for people to become worried or anxious during a time of such unrest. The central goal of this article is to highlight how your time away from the office can be a major positive opportunity, allowing you to adopt new skills, habits, and knowledge in the same spirit of positivity and kindness. We are working towards building a stronger community, by designing a new range of furniture products that can help our team sustain themselves once the lockdown is over. We are also utilizing this time revising necessary guidelines such a preparing Contracts and Budgeting for projects. The lockdown is a great opportunity, to identify and resolve the mistakes made by a brand and how to come back as a stronger identity.
Online Outreach is a necessary social Reality:
As a young Design studio, pre-COVID days, we get clocked up in acting as Entrepreneurs, Managers, and Technicians in building ‘Lifestyle Dessein’. During this lockdown, we are working towards increasing our online presence, which is a necessary social reality for start-ups. We have to demystify our expertise, break free from our comfort zone, and share our learning, our portfolio with those who can benefit from it. Collaborations are the new way to build your brand and young practitioners can really benefit from it.
Hold virtual meetings regularly and promote collaborations:
At Lifestyle Dessein, virtual meetings are conducted via zoom. Holding video meetings is essential for maintaining a sense of community among colleagues and avoiding misinterpretation, so use them to their maximum effect. One should participate in the plethora of webinars happening, to encourage the exchange of knowledge and skills, to promote collaboration, and to support our country in going local.
- Did the crisis change anything for current and upcoming projects so far?
The lockdown has slowed down the pace of on-going projects as the material production and availability post lockdown has been affected tremendously. It has also hindered our potential projects that were to begin in the future, as the pandemic has affected all business typologies. However, we are reaching across the community to ensure that work gets done efficiently by using communication tools and digital softwares. We are focussed on keeping the communication with clients open while working remotely.
- Residential spaces to create a “home away from home”
Co-working spaces may prove as a compromise between traditional and remote working: where highly-equipped communal offices allow employees to work effectively across professions. These co-working spaces may need to be re-designed considering social distancing at a workplace in the near future.
The evolving technological change could call for a re-imagination of how we work and live with each other. Interior Designers may have to build to design a new, not-yet-realized typology of space that merges digital with the physical, local and global, working and living, leaving the concept of people gathering in a single building for 8 hours per day. This in itself leads to a question of what happens to exist office typologies. Could these former workspaces be converted into new ways of living?
This transition from collective to remote working will impact Interior Design & Architecture to allow more flexibility between functions & spaces, while carefully designing the optimum level of interaction between inhabitants or users. That said, this forced lockdown in working-from-home may be a catalyst for a healthier future relationship between us and our workplace.
Abhinav & Jayati Gupta are the Founders and Principal Interior Designers at Lifestyle Dessein, a young Interior design studio that aims to create a colorful balance between art, function, and design. Their work has been published in the Insite magazine amongst the ‘emerging designers’.
Jayati is teaching Spatial Design at Pearl Academy and is a visiting faculty there. Her educational background includes Masters in Interior Design from Parsons, The New School, New York, and a Bachelor’s in Interior Architecture and Design from Pearl Academy. She has worked in New York and gained industry experience with Rottet Studio, New York. Her project, that focuses on Foster care Interior Design in Harlem was exhibited at the NY+11 exhibition in New York.
Abhinav Gupta pursued his Masters in Economics & Finance from Cardiff University, UK. He later decided to make a switch in his career and studied Interior Design. His forte is offering design solutions for residential spaces.
In 2015, Abhinav Gupta and Jayati Gupta founded Lifestyle Dessein with a bold and irreverent vision to make Interior Design and Architecture significant in one’s lifestyle. The multi-disciplinary firm draws inspiration from the duos’ eclectic expertise in the areas of design, art, and architecture. They design interior spaces ranging from residential, institutional, commercial to hospitality.