Home Shanti Home: The accent is on home and health

Covid is transforming blueprints of homes in Bengaluru. Buffer rooms at the entrance, transformable furniture, visual and acoustic privacy… everything for complete peace of mind

Every day we become conscious of how covid has impacted the way we live and work. With work-from-home becoming the biggest life-altering consequence of covid, it’s impact on home design is huge, say architects and designers.

Sandeep Khosla, from the Bengaluru-based award-winning design firm Khosla Associates says that there’s a new design thinking being applied to projects on the drawing board. “We haven’t had enough time to start and finish a project since lockdown began, but we have been getting many requests for special features from clients that’s related to the pandemic experience. Also, we have had internal discussions on how to make homes future-ready if there is another pandemic.”

Privacy is priority

Open plan homes are a thing of the past. While open plans offered visual connectivity to different parts of the home, the pandemic has underscored the importance of privacy in homes to facilitate work from home. ‘Privacy is all-important, both visual and acoustic privacy. Home offices, with a separate entrance are being valued now more than ever. If not a full-fledged home office, at least a work nook in the bedroom that allows for privacy is being considered.


Buffer space

Since the pandemic has brought about a need for sanitisation before entering the house, or keeping a space for non-contact delivery, the transitionary space / mud room, at the front or the back of the house becomes very important, says Khosla. In large apartment buildings, architects like M Jagadish, are provisioning for locker facilities for service staff, so that they have a dedicated place to keep their belongings and sanitise themselves before entering homes. Other sanitisations features like mini sanitisation tunnels are also on the drawing board. A dedicated space to drop-off delivery items will also be a part of residential building design.

Balconies, which were reserved for weekend breakfasts or sundowner drinks, are now becoming a part of everyday living. Balcony gardens, says KS Anantha Krishna, former dean, CMR University School of Architecture, help to bring nature into the home and give the illusion of being outdoors even when one is forced to isolate at home. Smaran Mallesh echoes this sentiment. “During the lockdown, people realized that even a tiny patch of green makes a big difference to their mood. Earlier, even if we suggested a balcony garden, clients would dismiss it as a waste of space. But now they’re demanding it.”



Centre of activity

With most people working from home, the kitchen has become the centre of activity. “Everyone has become a chef and people have realised that the kitchen is a social hub and a place for the family to hang out. Kitchens are bound to become multi-use spaces, with separate wet and dry areas,” says Khosla. There is also demand for increasing storage space in kitchens to stock groceries. The non-availability of groceries during the lockdown has led people to demand store rooms which had gone out of fashion, says Krishna.

All-important office space

Indraneel Datta, Principal Architect from Datta Kannan Partners, says the home office has become the most important feature of a home. “Most houses are dedicating at least 100 to 150 sq ft space for the home office. They are being equipped with air conditioning, a small refrigerator, high speed internet, multiple plug points, focussed lighting and proximity to a window that overlooks a garden or a landscaped area. In homes with a terrace or a gazebo, we have accommodated office spaces and gyms, because they are distinct from other areas and offer privacy.”

Transformational furniture

Once popular in South-East Asia, transformational furniture is helping to create more space in small apartments, especially in post-covid times, says Inder Kembhavi, of Kembhavi Architecture Foundation. “Transformable space-saving furniture is based on the concept that the furniture’s design must involve at least two forms of appearance and function. For example, a queen-size bed that transforms into a work desk during the day. In most bedrooms, beds occupy the majority of space. Transformable furniture, which can be operated either manually or with a remote, can save space and give a room multiple uses.”

Future perfect

Students of architecture are being trained to design for the new normal, says Akshara Verma, an architect. ‘The emphasis is on designing for people and not pathogens; to design for social distance and not for social isolation. “Our idea of standard dimensions has changed – design now has to comply with new norms to accommodate social distance and secondly we have to sensitise ourselves and rethink material usage and finishes,” she finishes.

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Sagar Biswas

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