TRENDS AND NEWS FROM THE WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL WAF VIRTUAL 2020
At the end of 2020, the World Architecture Festival took place in a new, previously unfamiliar format. WAF Virtual, on an online platform, brought together architects and designers from all over the world to discuss how the pandemic will and has already changed cities. We have highlighted five key trends from the festival that we will take with us into 2021.
A trend that is being observed around the world is the liberation of public areas designed for socialising, networking and entertainment. The pandemic has led to reduced flows of people and cars in urban environments, resulting in dramatic improvements in the air quality, fauna and flora of agglomerations. Everyone loved it, so urbanism has trended towards maintaining biodiversity in cities. This has led to a greater emphasis on parks, creating of green spaces and recreational areas. Remote working has freed up offices and infrastructure. What can we do with business centres and surrounding them restaurants and shops? The empty square metres will be available to creative businesses, for which such solutions were previously inaccessible because of the high cost. It is internal and external changes in the urban environment, namely the emergence of new spaces, terraces, free-access offices, lecture halls, and other attributes familiar to Generation Z.
The theme of healthy building or healthy architecture has been of interest to architects for several years. Buildings and spaces with their appearance can affect the social and physical health of people. What approaches make it possible to design buildings conducive to physical activity? Architects shared their experience. For example, elevators in public areas are hidden from view - all the attention is on flights of stairs as the main means of transportation. Stairs themselves can also be places for meetings and relaxation.
You can give new functionality due to the width and length of the steps. Places for joint meetings on the stairs, saturation of the space with natural light due to panoramic windows and atriums, an abundance of greenery - all this makes a person feel not alone. Health care is also becoming relevant: the experience was adopted from hospitals. To prevent air from mixing and ventilation from becoming carriers of bacteria, air in public buildings can be directed vertically rather than horizontally.
The clear outsiders of the near future - bulky shapes and cold textures - were also noted in the design of flats and apartments. Marble, solid furniture solutions and stone finishes are no longer relevant. This year's Pantone colours are yellow and grey. Mixtures of such shades, in their purest form, are more appropriate for restaurants and offices, while variations of subdued, soft tones should be chosen for interiors at home. To appreciate the vector of design choices rightly, today it's enough to look at the catwalk collections: everything that we see in clothes today is quickly being transformed into interior and architectural design concepts.
Over the past 2020, it has become difficult for people to access art - that which inspires, energises and develops. Closed museums and cultural centres around the world have gone online, but it's not enough. Therefore, there is a growing trend among ultra-high-net-worth individuals worldwide to buy art as interior decoration. Sculptures and object design and photography are now the most relevant solutions to bring a bohemian mood into the home, without turning it into an exhibition centre.
NEW LIFE OF THE EMPTY SPACES
Building and architecture
The flip side of current trends is the need to create mini-offices at home, where we work most of the time. Today, solutions have already been invented for this both for apartments and residential complexes. Home offices can be set up with mobile soundproof booths or workstations in dedicated desk niches or on glazed balconies. Co-working spaces or outdoor workplaces are organized in residential complexes. Wi-fi appears in parks, and charging blocks are built into benches. Such proposals are a direct response to changing lifestyles around the world. In the near future, solutions for corporate employees will be developed, and workplace regulations will appear. In the meantime, the corner of the bedroom or living room for work is beginning to transform into separate rooms for offices, with a window and an armchair, which are paired with soft lighting. Hotels and apartments offer empty hotels for rent during business hours. Compact studios include a bedroom, a bathroom and comfortable places to work and relax.