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MANUEL TORRES ACEMEL gives us his point of view regarding the situation we are experiencing during these times where COVID-19 has affected our way of life in every way.

Crisis is synonymous with opportunity, and unfortunately we have to admit that this is not a crisis, but a war, and the worst thing about this war is that the enemy is not seen and this has caused a global pandemic, which has kept us confined for months in our homes and that it has paralyzed the economy of all countries, thus affecting all human beings, and the worst thing is that hundreds of thousands of people have died around the world and this still adds up and goes on, because there is no vaccine …

Opportunity, the interior design sector and customer requests and trends are also in evolution, because until now the trend was for offices to resemble homes, however, after the confinement of months by COVID-19, now it will be the opposite, so we will have to convert and project homes that have a space dedicated to office. For this, interior designers will take into account that the homes must have adequate multifunctional spaces that can be dedicated to a guest room, office, library, children’s playroom, … But its real function will be to do home office there, where key factors will be such as: acoustics, solar orientation, wireless installations, the choice of materials, textures, nature, … All these points are vital, but surely that of nature that corresponds in architecture to the concept of BIOFILIA will be the most important, because this corresponds to the need that human beings have to be in contact with nature and this contributes to better quality of life and health. Because interior designers “design experiences and generate emotions” that have to make our clients enjoy them and above all to have a better quality of life.

According to the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm, who pointed out that BIOPHILY is the love of life, the passion for everything living, it is a passion and not a logical product, it is not in the “I” but is part of the personality. That is to say, the lack of contact with nature creates emotional and especially psychological imbalances, because it denatures us by being locked up for months and some people can generate crises of claustrophobia, anxiety, depression, … And it leads us to look for new spaces to improve our life. Our profession, now more than ever, will become an indispensable function for everyone, because interior design is not only to define a correct distribution of spaces to have a better distribution, ventilation, the choice of materials, textures, lighting, solar orientation, … to reflect the personality of their users, but also because generates well-being and satisfaction by taking into account and adding to the brief all these previous factors, in case another wave of confinement returns. So here it fits perfectly that interior designers “We are observers of the everyday and we solve problems creatively transforming them into design and innovation”. And now we have to solve the problem of confinement with healthier houses for our clients, their users.

The coronavirus has brought some important changes to the interior design sector, some more beneficial than others, for example more aseptic materials, spaces with terraces or gardens, … And we have not had to make major changes in projects that were already completed, because in my studies, for several years we used the SIDIB Method (Biophilia Inspired Integral Design System). At the beginning the client gives us his brief and later in the office we present what we call our “Contrabrief”, which are his needs but with our contributions and we always propose the involvement of nature and a multifunctional space that I mentioned previously, so we have not had to adapt projects that were already finished and the new ones, fortunately the client is more aware and even asks us for this space, because this is very typical of large homes in Mexico and in Spain for several years we are applying it in our projects.

Interior design is an intangible that generates well-being and comfort to its users

That is why we consider that the coronavirus has caused big changes to the architecture and interior design sector and there is a very good opportunityto design and reform homes as workplaces or coworking spaces. There are many people who have considered giving a new image to their home, turning it into a more pleasant and comfortable space in which to spend long periods of time, so now more than ever it will be reflected that “Interior design is an intangible that generates well-being and comfort to its users ”. And not only in homes with large spaces but also in small or even very small spaces. All this is simply based on gaining space, generating more open areas that translates into the redistribution of some of the rooms in the house and using more antibacterial, sustainable, ecological and hygienic materials and easy to clean. The concern of not knowing if there will be another outbreak for which we should have a second confinement have increased these requests.

Fortunately, another of the successes that we have observed after this crisis are more positive than negative and related to our own work dynamics in the MANUEL TORRES DESIGN studio and remote work. Undoubtedly, for almost a decade, having offices in Spain and Mexico, my entire team was already used to working remotely and with different time zones – they are 7 hours apart between the two countries – and therefore I believe that We can give some advice on this work methodology since we use technology daily to get in touch with each other. It is important to have the technologythat already exists and to have all the computer equipment adapted for this purpose together with good management of the files on the central server and in the cloud. With this we have verified that a highly organizedwork method is now more than ever essential to see that we are more effective when we are coordinated and communicated, each one performing their tasks in an orderly and above all efficient way.

Hopefully not, but we should not be so optimistic either, because everything indicates that this new type of life has come not only to stay but to continue to evolve and we have all learned that before this pandemic that no one could imagine, it was impossible for us to be everyone and I literally insist “everyone in the world” confined and unable to go out on the street, now unfortunately it is being a reality, in which fortunately has changed the consciousness and thinking of many people and this is a opportunity to change things and to have a cleaner and more ecological world because a situation has accelerated by leaps and bounds, which science and ecology experts have not been saying that until just a few months ago could only seem to us only from a fictional film and from the very distant future.

The result of a good project is the result of a good client

So I want to end this writing by mentioning another of my sentences that says “The result of a good project is the result of a good client“. And, if customers are not aware of the environment, ecology, pollution and many other factors that contribute to a greener world, we as designers can give recommendations or advice, but we cannot fight against them and it is here when public administrations have a lot to say because clients usually end up complying only if it is by legal imperative. And I end with a phrase that says “Designing is dreaming, thinking, projecting and creating. Translating the intangible into tangible”. And this is my thought and that of my entire team.

Manuel Torres Acemel