THE SHIFTING MEANING AROUND OUR MOST VITAL RESOURCES
So much about our lives has changed over the past year. So, it should not come as a surprise that our relationship to the basic building blocks of life has dramatically shifted as well.
As we increasingly resume our “normal” lives there are many aspects that will never quite return to the pre-pandemic status quo. The fear and isolation we all experienced during consecutive lockdowns made us reflect on our wellbeing and consider how we might redesign our personal environments to facilitate better home lives and healthier lifestyles.
The Changing Meaning of “Home”
Having always provided us with a wide range of fulfillment, our homes had to flex even more during lockdown, adapting to our very new and different needs as they arose. Overnight our homes became our offices, our classrooms, our gyms, our doctor’s offices, and our places of worship. Now, as we continue to navigate the devastating and far-reaching effects the pandemic has had on our wellbeing, we can observe that the meaning of “home” has shifted and evolved significantly.
In addition to the multiple roles our homes play, they are now especially important as refuges and sanctuaries, helping to protect us from threats that could negatively impact our health and wellbeing. Central to our homes enabling this are the two building blocks of life – air and water. Responsible for keeping us hydrated, healthy and clean on a practical level, while enabling rich emotive experiences and personal care rituals, air and water are two crucial aspects of home whose meaning is also changing rapidly in light of the pandemic.
Online architecture and design magazine Dezeen expects our homes to evolve dramatically in response to our COVID experience, including far greater use of air and water filtration. Molly Carmichael, a principal at the housing industry research firm Zonda, noted that nearly 70% of surveyed homebuyers were willing to pay as much as $1000 for water and air filtration systems in their homes.
Companies seeking to meet these challenges for the post-COVID consumer need to pair their technological solutions with a new and nuanced understanding of how meanings of home and wellbeing have shifted over the past year. A few stand out as having addressed this complex puzzle.