Illustration by: Mariana Yatsuda Ikuta
For most of us, our home has always been our sanctuary, at least in the metaphorical sense. Now, however, the global pandemic has embued this notion with added gravitas.
Spending far more time within the spaces we call home, is pushing many of us to re-evaluate how we inhabit these spaces. Are we optimizing the space? Is it conducive to work? Does it calm our anxious minds? And, do we really need all this stuff or can we live more minimally?
Design Thinking in Trying Times
This sort of design or space introspection should probably be asked regularly but who had the time or the inclination? In normal times, we could always escape poorly considered design choices by heading to a hip restaurant, gallery space, or boutique. For the moment, however, these options are no longer available to us.
The silver lining, from a design perspective anyway, lies in the fact we are developing intimacy and awareness of our surroundings that we’ve never had before. Day by day we are gaining a truer, more holistic understanding of how we actually use a space and how these spaces make us feel – presenting us with a beautiful opportunity. We give life to what we give energy to and right now, we can revive our homes in ways that improve our well-being – aesthetically and spiritually.
As this spatial awareness develops and we grow accustomed to living ‘smaller’ lives, your immediate surroundings become more important. They can elevate, inspire or calm your mood. For us, it is a time to embrace design thinking and to assess your living space with intention and purpose, creating distinctive spaces for different activities. This might mean creating a space for cultivating your creativity and another for working. For other times, set aside a flexible space for pursuing wellness pursuits – exercise, yoga, meditation, etc. And, ensure your kitchen, the heart of every home is optimized for efficiency and culinary capers of the best kind.
We’ve collaborated with our design friends at Vancouver’s preeminent contemporary furniture store, Inform, to discuss the ideas shaping home design in these unprecedented times and to identify beautiful products to help you create a restorative home:
Creative Self Reliance
Rely on your own instincts to reshape the way you live. Cultivating a space that better serves our needs and supports our well-being is suddenly all the more important. It is particularly key to carve out spaces for different purposes and activities. Creating a refuge that is inspired and pure, where natural light is leveraged, the decoration is minimal and spaces flow seamlessly from one to the next. This space may be different for everyone, but the idea is to create a space that is inspired, pure, and removed from chaos and clutter.
Eero Aarnio’s 1968 Bubble Chair is the perfect little cocoon perch to shield you from the outside world while you take in a book or simply enjoy a pause in your day. An iconic, statement piece, it will centre or ground any space.
As you will likely be spending more time than usual with your significant other(s), consider improving the acoustics in some parts of your home. This will articulate a space for a specific purpose – virtual meetings, entertainment, music practice, and more. They will also help absorb sound if you live in a condo tower, ensuring good neighbourly relations remain intact.
Inform carries Buzzi Space Studios’ innovative and chic reinterpretation of the classic Acoustic Panel. The soft exterior and rounded edges evoke a retro look and feel while functioning very effectively to absorb sound and mitigate noise in any space.
The Womb Chair by Knoll has long offered people refuge from a busy day – the perfect spot to enjoy a coffee break or book, finish some work or take a moment to reflect; it envelops you, offers great support, and elevates any room.
Home Work Spaces
Working on your bed, materials strewn across your duvet is not a viable way to work long term. A functional, well-designed workspace is far more conducive to productivity and sets the tone for your workday. A pre-pandemic statistic sites that an estimated 70% of the global workforce work remotely at least one day a week. Chances are this will grow exponentially as people equip their homes with keyboards, monitors, and other tech gadgets to facilitate working from home during the pandemic and realize their effectiveness. A permanent shift to less commuting and working from home may take hold.
We love wood accents for any space but especially for home offices as they imbue warmth and calm to your work pace and distinguish it from the more clinical environments of many offices.
We love the Orson Desk, made in rich hardwood and cast iron, its mid-century aesthetic is functional and approachable. Pair it with a classic Eames Executive Chair and Pablo Light and we are sure you’ll see a boost in your productivity.
Herman Miller Renew Sit to Stand Desk is the perfect addition to any home office and vital to your physical health and productivity enabling you to adjust your posture and work position throughout the day. Its sleek design and small footprint make it a practical and beautiful choice.
Heart of the Home
Most of us are spending more time in the kitchen than ever before. This is where we nourish our bodies and souls and those of loved ones in isolation with us.
Kitchen designs and accessories should be the perfect marriage of form and function. Simple, practical designs offer comfort and service during these times. Liv loves classics like the impact and chip-resistant duralex tempered, Picardie Glasses, and the Dua Bowl, perfect for fruit or as a small tray.
Brew a cup of tea in the Collar Tea Pot by Italian design duo Daniel Debiasi & Federico Sandri. The Collar teapot is an absolute “must-have” and comes with a sideways handle made from rubberwood, adding a natural feel and softness to the black stoneware of the pot.
The John Pawson Collection of pots for Demeyere are perfect. As we spend more and more time in our own kitchen, nourishing ourselves and close family, it is so lovely to use something beautiful, functional, and well-made on a daily basis.
As our life has been reduced significantly in so many ways, we have resorted to simpler, more self-reliant ways. We are drawn to designs that look to the past and evoke comfort, protection, and reassurance and remind us of our connection to the natural earth. A simple and easy way to do this is by extending your living space outdoors. This is especially appealing during pandemic times when movements are restricted. Whether you have a balcony, patio, or expansive backyards, improving your outdoor space will improve your state of mind.
This is the perfect time to cultivate your green thumb indoors or outdoors. Tending to your plants will prove therapeutic, connecting you to another form of life. Plants will add comfort and colour to any space.
The Échasse Vases are part of a now-iconic series inspired by laboratory test tubes. The drop-shaped form and unique colour gradients of the glass give the design depth and contrast against the legs’ clean lines.
The Well Watering Can in all its elegant, polished metal glory, will remind you to water your plants. Its drip-free design and comfortable curved handle make it an ergonomic pleasure to use.
Kettal’s Bitta Furniture is versatile and lightweight. Highly configurable and characterized by a combination of aluminum frames, seats of braided polyester and tabletops of teak and stone, the entire collection is weatherproof.
The exquisite Wittus Shaker Stove by Antonio Citterio houses the most primal of elements – fire, adding warmth and beauty to any space. Designed by Citterio, this stove is contemporary but with design elements reminiscent of traditional Shaker stoves. It is available with a long or a short bench.
For inspiration, consider this beautiful book – Building – Nature – Art – by Seattle-based architect Jim Olson. Olsen blends straight, clean architectural lines and curving natural scenery seamlessly creating an effortless harmony of buildings with nature. These pages offer an up-to-date survey of Olson’s work, focussing chiefly on art-collecting private clients and large scale resorts illustrating by way of sketches, plans, and sumptuous photography Jim Olson’s impressive career.
Never before has time spent on wellness been so important. Keeping mentally and physically fit is key to surviving these curious, never-ending days. Home fitness and yoga studios can offer an escape from the daily routine and help re-set our bodies and minds. A well-designed space for these pursuits makes all the difference – an investment in self-care now will pay dividends to your well being far beyond the quarantine period.
There’s no question that taking time out from your day for a cup of tea, or three, will help restore your spirit. Store your tea in these beautiful Kaikado tin, copper, and brass-plated Tea Caddies. Kaikado was established in 1875, shortly after Japan opened its doors to the rest of the world. At that time, tin was used to plate steel and was considered a fashionable, foreign import.
Nothing sets a reflective mood better than candles or incense burners. To set the alight, we love this Josh Owen-designed Cast Iron Match Striker – a simple cast iron vessel that holds a handful of wooden matches for lighting those candles.
In these unprecedented times, sleep offers the ultimate escape and key to sustained wellness. We love all of the Hastens Bedding Products – all-natural, with absolutely no chemicals, or fire-retardants. The pillows, duvets, and of course the mattresses are absolutely life-changing.
No longer able to escape to a spa for a treatment, we are reliant on ourselves for pampering. Now is the time to establish new rituals to enhance and restore our faces and bodies. Spending on wellness and self-care was significant before the pandemic, but whether the industry can recover is still unknown. However, we anticipate bathrooms will become an even more important part of the home as consumers try to recreate a spa-like experience in their own homes.
We love Tom Dixon’s Earth Candle. It offers an intoxicating mix of mint, guaiac wood, and cedarwood creating a rich and mossy freshness. Other elemental scents of Air, Earth, and Water are also available.
Binchotan’s all-natural Facial Puff will gently exfoliate your skin, sloughing off pandemic stress to reveal brighter, more radiant skin.
The Studio’s Censer Incense Holder by Apparatus is a gorgeous, sculptural piece that will transport you to a more peaceful state. Spun, cast, and machined brass, shaped in a form echoing a chalice, houses an elegant porcelain dome from which smoke escapes when used as an incense holder or a warm glow emanates when used as a candle holder.
LIV and Inform recognize that the way we are living now is only temporary. However, how it will be hereafter is still uncertain. The best way to manage your wellness during these trying times is to cultivate your environment in a way that induces peace of mind. This is an opportune time to take stock of your surroundings and enhance them to better serve you.