A person sitting at a table

Interior design and Covid-19

There will be many lessons for interior designers, architects and engineers to apply to every type of development as more data on Covid-19 infection and transmission becomes available.

Retirement communities, often designed around a central hub, are already well planned to respond to infection. Individual properties with their own outside space allow people to isolate easily if necessary, and be supported. This is certainly true of Audley owners during lockdown, who talk about their experiences in this video.

Our lifestyles have changed in a very short time in response to Covid-19. For example, we have got used to hand washing and sanitising at regular intervals throughout the day, and the availability of sanitising gel in shops and health facilities is reassuring.

In future developments we may see integrated cleaning and hand sanitising stations - a carefully designed hole in the wall concept like an ATM. Placed at regular intervals throughout a building, the stations would allow easy access with sensor operated covers and gel dispensers.

All newly built Audley Clubs have automatic doors, which reduce the need for contact with door handles, and wherever possible automatic doors are installed in the listed properties too.

Although Covid-19 is new, consideration of microbial infection in general is already part of the interior design process for leisure and hospitality interiors, as well as for all types of healthcare.

Best practice infection control includes specification of interior surfaces and materials with antimicrobial properties to minimise the survival of viruses and bacteria.

Bespoke joinery, doors, walls and floors all have a significant role to play. All hard surfaces should be flat and smooth to allow effective cleaning.

With careful thought aesthetics do not need to be compromised to provide safer and more durable environments. For example, we have developed bespoke table tops with contract grade lacquer which are able to withstand repeated use of antimicrobial cleaner.

We have also designed bespoke upholstered furniture for the Audley Clubs and we use fabrics with antimicrobial properties to prevent the spread of infection.

In the lounge at Cooper’s Hill, the statement sofa is upholstered in a stylish hospitality grade woven fabric from Fabricus, a UK-based manufacturer.

The fabric is antifungal, E coli and salmonella resistant, impervious backed and stain resistant for 100,000 rubs. That’s hardwearing – yet you would never know from just looking at it!

Responding to Covid-19 has meant adapting quickly and being prepared to do things differently. Audley owners have been doing that too, together at home.

Get more interior design tips and advice from Jen Bernard on Audley Stories

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