We were delighted to be joined recently by London-based Amit Malhotra and Sara Ripamonti from AFLUX Designs who discussed how the recent developments have impacted their business, and how they see the future for Interior Design as we move forward.
Initially we feared the worst given the news about shutting down most of the work in London. We were also worried about how our clients might start looking at cutting their budgets and perhaps suspending jobs which of course they would have had every right to do. Also, given the requirements to work remotely we needed to take a step back and look at our costs, look at how we would manage the designs and any ongoing sites. We communicated a clear plan with our staff and our clients as well as managed costs, such as negotiating a decreased rent. This enabled us to keep our clients and carry on working (even harder), providing remote designs where possible. We now have four active sites with further two starting in July, so we are very excited.
Yes, and to be honest, I don’t think we ever stopped working! Kudos goes to many of our suppliers who had to close their shops due to the pandemic but still managed to send out really informative information on their products - it was a perfect opportunity to learn and apply new knowledge to our designs. We can’t speak for everyone, but we have been very busy working on designs for our clients and presenting to them online. We have started our sites and are visiting regularly where possible through private transport (and wearing PPE). We have also had a flurry of brand-new requests so we have been busy visiting where we can (and even through Zoom) and hopefully we will get some good news soon!
It has changed how we work. Working remotely means it is absolutely necessary to communicate even more effectively than before. It has made us look closely at our processes and what can be done effectively via remote meetings and how we can present to our clients. Interior designers for sure have used this pandemic to showcase their voice and talent throughout. Like most designers we have a large collection of samples, so the need for an office is still here. However, it might be more of a rotation scheme, and a drop off or a pickup centre for the foreseeable future until we are more comfortable working closely together again.
We are currently taking on a project for a multiple occupancy in central London. With COVID-19 there is an even stronger emphasis on materials, common space and type of design to help promote social distancing and clean environments. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance to go green and selecting materials that are not only easier to clean but also environmentally friendly and sustainable for a longer period of time! Pricing will also be a consideration as we anticipate budgets will be tighter and so designers will need to be more creative to find affordable ways to still provide that luxury look for clients who have less to spend. In terms of design, given the increased anxiety caused by the pandemic and also more time spent at home, clients will look to transform their homes into a more peaceful ambient environments whilst also trying to perfect the ‘home office.’