So what is this Methodology About?
It is an interior design concept focused mainly on airflow, space and comfort to improve indoor air quality naturally. With COVID-19 being part of our everyday lives we are now bound with the idea of being socially distanced, avoid overcrowding and being in an environment where we are more conscious about the presence of air pollutants and airborne pathogens. This new normal gave rise to this methodology.
How can interior design and planning affect Indoor Air Quality?
1. Integrate real plants & greenery into the office
Current office trends are moving to the “Biophilic Workplace” or those with splashes of greenery all thought the office. Benefits of a Green Workplace are:
- general air purification of volatile pollutants and dust
- reduction of headache by up to 24%
- reduction of eye irritation by up to 52%
- reduction of energy consumption for room ventilation by 15%
- increase in work productivity by 20%
The reports show that increased indoor air circulation increases cognitive skills by as much as 61%. Furthermore, green offices that reduce air pollution improve our intelligence and cognitive capabilities by 101% compared to standard buildings.
2. Natural light & flexible spaces
Dark spots and dimly lit areas are more susceptible to mould growth and other micro-organisms that thrive in darkness. Encourage the use of natural light when designing spaces. If possible let the light pass from space to space by integrating more glass and transparent or translucent materials that will make the space brighter. Operable walls and sliding doors will also provide better air circulation from one space to another. After using the space make sure that the walls car widely opened for stale air to escape.
3. Spacious layouts, open ceilings and multi-purpose space
In the “New Normal” companies and businesses may continue to adapt the work from home model. This will result in a less crowded office and more wide-open space for designers to play with.
High open ceilings are good for air circulation that means there is more volume for the fresh air to circulate decreasing the increase in CO2 even for more crowded space. *Carbon Dioxide in the air is produced by human breathing. There will also be a more liberal approach in space planning by expanding the personal space bubble to double its size. Physical distancing should encourage designers to consider putting more emphasis in airflow and space. That means the further people are from each other the less chance of airborne pathogens will be transmitted from human to human in indoor spaces. Besides Interior Air Quality design, the need for mechanical air cleaners and disinfection devices are important to ensure that airborne pathogens will be eradicated and pollutants filtered and disposed of through the return air ducts. These countermeasures not only save lives but are also cost-effective.
There will never be a better time to put Indoor Air Quality & Interior Design in one conversation than now. As we are in the midst of a once in a century pandemic, it is high time to set our sights on designing for airflow, comfort and space as key considerations during the initial conceptualization and feasibility studies for an interior project.
James Paul Pilande, Editor-in-Chief
Photo Credits: Office Snapshots