Traditionally, interior design has been the practice of creating aesthetically pleasing and functional indoor spaces, which elevate both physical and mental wellbeing. Designers utilise the range of tools at their disposal to help draw out particular moods, emotions and sentiments from a room. Their role extends to the functionality of indoor spaces to ensure maximum usability.
Professional interior design should be carried out in accordance with the world in which we live, and it has always done so. For example, a timeline of interior design trends in the past will accurately reflect external trends and movements within that era.
The technological age of today is no exception. As our world has evolved, simultaneously changing the way we live, work and play; so too has the interior design focus. We’re no longer bound to our homes to carry out mundane tasks. The arrival of instant ‘everything’ from information and communication to instant coffee; has changed our consumer behaviour and expectations.
The Age of digitalisation
The 21st Century has not seen a decline in the advancements in technology. In fact, every industry in every corner of the globe has ultimately been touched by advanced technological capabilities. This has resulted in widespread changes in the ways we carry out our daily activities.
From work to play, technology has made an undeniable mark on all of our lives. Since there’s no escaping it, there is an obvious need to cater to this new standard of life. At the forefront of creating a new world that’s compatible with these ongoing changes is interior design.
The digital age has effectively allowed us to be in multiple places at the same time. Working remotely has become a popular option in the workforce. In many cases, this will require a laptop, mobile phone and perhaps a work-specific mobile device. Using these portable electronic tools allows employees to carry out tasks away from the office. An accommodating office space with the right equipment and support should, therefore, be replaced with an accommodating workspace at home.
Likewise, our downtime which once looked a lot like getting home from work, having dinner at the dining room table, and sitting on the sofa to read or watch TV; has vastly changed. The way we engage with entertainment platforms, catch up with friends and learn new things have all changed. For better or for worse, this has resulted in an immense shift in the way we use our free time.
Today, one might expect to catch up with an overseas friend from the comfort of one’s own living room via Facetime, for example. Or perhaps take a university degree without ever needing to leave your home office. Its widely understood that the best way to live in the digital 21st century is by ensuring our surroundings are compatible for digital devices.
In many cases, access to sophisticated technology means that we don’t actually have to be at home at all in order to continue the operations of a safe household. Things like electricity, heating, safety and lighting in our homes can all be controlled from afar.
So, how can interior design enhance the standards of living in this new age? How can it contribute to the wellbeing and safety of us all; and at the same time, hold true to its traditional focus in creating aesthetically pleasing and inspirational spaces?
Using interior design to accommodate for digital living
There are a number of tools at the interior designer’s disposal to allow for the most efficient and stylish ways to live digitally. From effective furniture placement to the furniture itself; the industry has been spun on its head, just as every other industry has had to grow with technological change.
Interior designers use furniture to create beautiful spaces and a sense of order and function in a room. Because the changes in which we interact with technology have changed the way we live, it also means that we now use the space around us differently.
As such, sitting on a couch to watch TV and sitting on a couch to use a laptop requires two different ways to use the couch. Companies like Lounge-Tek are on board with the digital furniture trend and create pieces to add comfort to daily digital living.
Digital furniture, in this case, is not to assume the function of robot tables and self-moving chairs. Nor is it to suggest that all furniture should contain charging ports and interactive screens. Technology that is new today will; be replaced and obsolete next week, month or year. Therefore, furniture should be designed in order to meet the needs of digital living.
The Scene XXL chair by M2L is a prime example of the ways traditional furniture should be modified. It comes with the option of an attached tablet table and an upholstered high back for privacy when typing, making phone calls or inserting private data.
As for the design elements in a room, there is much to be said about traditional furnishings, decorations and furniture once used to adorn interiors. The internet and the devices through which it passes, like mobile phones and computers, have taken the place of so many things that were once relied upon by designers to manipulate the ambience of a room. For example, wall clocks and towers are no longer needed because the time is recorded on all digital devices- and let’s face it, we’re never too far from one. Further, filing cabinets have become antiquated, as have records and in particularly modern homes, so have books.