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The future of interior design

Adaptive design: the megatrend in interior design

The world is changing. The population is growing, needs more space and is consuming more resources. Which strategies will enable companies to respond to these far-reaching changes in the environment and the economy? This is a question that the interior design and construction industries must also face.

Global problems and their consequences for the economy

We live in a rapidly changing world. Digital progress is constantly opening up new opportunities and breaking the limits of possibility over and over again. Companies no longer have to simply face the question of their own future viability – they also have to address global challenges: climate change and its consequences, population growth and excessive resource consumption – these problems pose new challenges for the construction and interior design industries, too. Instead of allowing themselves to be dictated to by difficult circumstances, it’s vital that designers adopt a flexible outlook. If they see changes as opportunities rather than threats, this can have a positive effect on both their approach and their creations.

The world and people’s needs are changing

The last two years have demonstrated in a frightening way how closely connected the economy and the environment are. Coronavirus not only paralysed social life; it has also weakened the economy immensely. In addition to supply bottlenecks, long waiting times and disruption to global production, manufacturers and designers now face a further challenge. The pandemic has made the home the centre of life again and changed people’s expectations of their living space.

While the consequences of the pandemic are immediately visible, the adverse effects of other global problems become obvious only in the long term. Climate change is causing flooding and extreme heat, creating upheaval in production facilities and disrupting entire import and export supply chains. As the world changes, so, too, are customers’ needs. This has made the climate crisis a catalyst for sustainability . Consumers are questioning their lifestyles and how companies act. Blindly consuming is a thing of the past; today environmentally friendly home living is in. Sustainability, recycling and reusing are booming in interior design – including among the older generation, a target group that is set to become increasingly important for businesses. By 2030, one in ten people living in Germany will be 75 years or older . Germany’s ageing and growing population is leading to ever-louder calls for more living space for all generations , especially in large cities because they will be home to greater numbers in the future.

External changes are influencing every sphere of society. Issues such as the climate crisis and dwindling resources are becoming personal concerns that affect every individual. People’s needs are changing as a result, and the interior design and construction industries must respond to this.

Modular design offers innovative concepts

The interior and construction industries are confronted with a highly complex and dynamic society that it must cater to. Broadening its perspective is essential if it is to meet customers’ needs at an early stage. But what does this look like in practice? Here the megatrend for adaptivity can provide some answers. Manufacturers and designers can equip themselves for the future with adaptive design.

A prime example of this is the smartphone. A single handy device that allows you to access and manage all areas of life, from communication to finances and holiday planning – a miracle of multifunctionality.

As individualism becomes even more deeply entrenched, demand for such solutions is growing in interior design, too. The shortage of living space calls for multifunctional interior design. Take the sofa, for instance. During the day, it’s a place for relaxation. Come evening, it must quickly and easily transform into a bed. The living room has to double as a home office – because where there is little space, it must be used intelligently. Similarly, architects have to contend with dwindling plot sizes. So why not simply reuse and repurpose the existing buildings? Adaptive architecture can turn hotels into homes, among many other possibilities. This is a win-win because applying the reuse principle cuts the construction industry’s costs and saves resources compared to the outlay on a new building – and it preserves the cityscape.

Another path to sustainable and adaptive design is modularity. The concept of modularity is taking off among interior designers as a way to create products with greater customisation more cost-efficiently. Modular design aims to break a design down into smaller components, which can be produced separately and used independently of each other. A characteristic feature of modularity is the use of standardised modules – often mass-produced – to create a custom product. This means that items of furniture and buildings can later be adapted and reconfigured.

Adaptivity is the key to success

Design is changing. The interior and construction industries faces the huge challenge of steering the shortage of living space , demographic change , resource scarcity and climate change in a direction that is positive for them. The pressure on these industries holds enormous potential and opens up the scope for good design and a sustainably successful future. Our special edition of TRENDimmPACT on adaptivity reveals how you can adapt your business today to the world of tomorrow.

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