If I've learned nothing else from this Pandemic, I know now that whatever we design has a bearing on health.
Cue Gomer Pile saying, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!" I have always believed that designing for hospitals and healthcare has an impact on the patients' success in illness recovery. Today, it is not limited to spaces dedicated to healthcare. As I review plans and one-way directions through spaces to limit unecessary physical contact, I see a familiar practice applied to a new frontier; the office. We have a social responsibility to lessen viral exposure in our workplaces and businesses as well as ANY and ALL public spaces.
Defining areas of office collaboration with flooring and color definition is sort of like defining the red line in surgery areas. The lines are suddenly blurred between healthcare and workplace design. We are hesitant to go to emergency rooms for fear of exposing ourselves to Covid, but we are also leary of going back to the office for the same reason. Both scenarios have learned to deal with the transfer of infection in a new way. Efficacy of old cleaning, sanitation and disinfection methods have been examined and new protocols have been developed.
The furnishings industry has worked quickly to produce new solutions to effectively separate desks in the office and seating in waiting areas. Time will tell how new aerosol cleaning methods affect upholstery and finishes long-term. This will influence new product development in a way that we have definitely seen in healthcare but now has washed into the office and public sectors.
Designers in all industries have more research to do in the creation of effective solutions to projects. I think we all are designing architecture for health.