The Pandemic's Transformative Impact on Luxury Home Design: Madhav Sattanathan

COVID-19 has fundamentally transformed our relationships with space, contact, consumption, each other and even ourselves writes Madhav Sattanathan, Managing Partner, Kriss Real Estate.


As we inch closer to the end of a challenging year, the world around us is cautiously reopening to a drastically new reality.

The COVID 19 pandemic leaves in its wake a growing list of deep-seated and permanent changes, including ongoing macrocosmic shifts in governments, economies and industries. These large-scale changes are paralleled and influenced by, perhaps, even more significant and resonant alterations to our daily routines and behaviour patterns.

COVID-19 has fundamentally transformed our relationships with space, contact, consumption, each other and even ourselves.

Intrinsic change to habitual human actions, shifts in material supply chains and a steep focus on environmental ethos, reshapes the governing principles of architecture across the board but most deeply impacts the conception and design of a home.

With the global population spending record amounts of time at home, the most immediate change will be adapting residences to serve versatile functions over extended periods of time. Whether high-rise apartments, villas or independent houses, upcoming residences will prioritise spaces that facilitate productivity and accommodate retreat.

Natural light and ventilation will be essential to securing physical and mental comfort in a confined space. Limited contact with the outdoors will also increase demand for private green spaces whether micro balconies and terraces or indoor gardens and terrariums. Minimal interiors with modular or adjustable furniture will increase in-house mobility and allow for transitional spaces. With increased focus on hygiene and sanitation, kitchens may feature dry and wet areas that confine cooking prep to a separate section leaving the formal kitchen free for use as a dining room, common space or even a workstation.

The internal structure of homes will also change significantly in the medium to long term. Water filtration and air purification networks will evolve to conjoin with existing air vents and plumbing. Independent sources of power and water will also emerge to insulate homes from extraneous events or shutdowns. Homes will increasingly feature autonomous stations of power supply including solar panels, geo-thermal wells. Rainwater harvesting or alternate water sourcing systems will become more common. Together these systems will make homes more self-reliant and energy efficient.

In addition to in-house changes, both structural and aesthetic, residential architecture will also adopt economic and culturally sensitive innovations. Transport blocks and manufacturing halts instigated by the COVID19 pandemic have catalysed hyperlocalization through a demand for native materials and traditional craftsmanship.

The use of vernacular materials significantly reduces carbon footprints and benefits every mode of the local supply chain from source, fabrication and transport, to final installation. In the case of luxury constructions, employing native elements in contemporary formats sheds deeper focus on high-calibre execution and experimentation that leverages and elevates traditional craftsmanship.

Paradoxically, the return to native and local, which is symbolically a true return home, will be held together by a rapidly evolving component of our future - technology. Digital platforms dedicated to architecture and design will allocate for consumer-driven customisations commissioned through a virtually integrated network of designers, vendors, fabricators and more.

It is now apparent that our post-COVID lives must be cohesive with our surroundings. The health of our immediate environment and local communities influence our own safety and well-being. Emerging concepts of homes will, therefore, foray a deeper, more comprehensive focus on sustainability that is ecologically, socially and culturally sensitive.

The focus on turnkey sustainability will also redefine aspirational living. Rather than lavish structures, homes will essay a balance of functionality and inventiveness. Space, rather than being a statement of expanse, will be carefully and versatility utilised to suit daily living. Just as sustainability becomes inextricably linked to human value systems, all residential architecture will become symbiotic with principally thoughtful design.

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