The Covid-19 crisis will have far reaching consequences. For the interior design industry, it will mean a greater focus on creating spaces that help to keep occupants healthy. As a LEED Accredited designer, most recently we have been focused on keen energy-saving methods and material reuse strategies. Now, we can add increased attention to advanced air quality improvement techniques and promoting materials that have natural and added qualities of inhibiting bacterial growth.
For indoor air quality, working with mechanical engineers to specify improved air filtration systems that go beyond the label of “acceptable” will be key. Advanced systems should now be the goal for optimal air quality. In addition, the specification of interior materials, such as paints and wallcoverings that have bacterial guards inherent in their material composition or with an additional treatment, will bring an added benefit of protecting occupants.
Another area of attention for reducing the spread of germs will be limiting the areas of public touch. Limiting those points at both entry and exit points to conference rooms or restrooms can be addressed. Restrooms currently have lots of options for touchless faucets, soap and towel dispensers. But providing touchless doors via voice activation or wireless access could be an option. Providing single-touch electric access or push doors for both entry and exits (with access to antibacterial wipes nearby) can offer occupants healthier environments.
I don’t know that open concept offices will change that much, but maybe those open collaborative spaces can become larger, partitions just a little higher.
I invite you to contact me to continue this discussion and how we can take steps, both large and small, to provide your staff and visitors with safer and healthier work environments.