In November, I had the opportunity to be a part of a live online talk hosted by Schneider Electric Group, titled ‘Home of the Future: An interior design approach to sustainable living’. It was fascinating to be part of this international event, in discussion with journalist Clara Le Fort, alongside Frédéric Beuvry (Senior Vice President of the Industrial Design Department at Schneider) and Frida Ramstedt (an online interiors blogger, influencer, writer and lecturer) investigating this topic. It seemed so fitting that in these times of great change and unpredictability, that we focus on how our homes – arguably the most important places in our lives, will need to adapt and developed to meet tomorrows challenges.
Ultimately it comes down to the role that good design has to play – be that in form, function, intuitive interaction, efficiency and human wellbeing – but how do we bring all that together in one product or space? Leading the conversation Frédéric, spoke about the process and meaning behind their product design. Schneider takes pride in designing products that work well and have longevity. As Frédéric says, “industrial design is part of our DNA – a product is designed to serve and not to be served.” Creating more choice between shape, feeling, material and function of products will help people adapt their homes to their preferences. If we actively choose something, we feel a greater attachment to that object, and so hopefully it will stick around for a while.
Frida went on to discuss her essential rules of interior design such as ergonomics and good lighting. She bemoaned social media’s visual domination of interior design, over functionality – we are fed images of aesthetically pleasing interiors on social media, but what really is the ‘best’ design? Is it creating something that has a wow factor, or should it help us to function and last a long time? These two things are by no means mutually exclusive, but the latter is often overlooked in favour of the former. Design needs to be done the right way, considering both ‘aesthetics and anthropometrics’ (the place of the body within the interior). As Frida put it, just as the same pair of jeans won’t fit everyone, neither will the same furniture.
So, whilst a well-designed home is not necessarily a cure, it can definitely help to prevent any more damage, whether that be to our health, our pockets, or our planet. Thus, a home for the future should work to create a positive experience of a place that tackles the root cause of many problems we face today. As interior designers, we have an incredibly important role here to enhance health and wellbeing in the home whilst we recognise just how important the home really is.
Now more than ever, we need to create resilient spaces. It isn’t enough to simply be ‘less bad’ – we have to think about the impact we are having on the planet and give back- to become regenerative. And a regenerative home will be good for us too; the incorporation of design elements such as renewable energy or economical and efficient technology can improve our own health and wellbeing.
We’d love to invite you to listen to the whole event, which you can do here.