Luxury brands have managed to carve out a niche which appeals to the cream of the society. The market dealing with all things luxury has slowly been emerging like a behemoth, with a global valuation of over $380 billion dollars. With the COVID-19 crisis, the perceived value of all things related to luxury has plummeting. But this is only applicable to brands and goods that were new to the market. Classic and timeless designers have been floating seamlessly. This is the exact scenario that has been observed in the interior and architecture design industry. DesignEx, spearheaded by Ar. Smriti Sawhney, is a premium architecture firm that specializes in opulent residential and hospitality projects. Pushing boundaries, Ar. Sawhney has been able to rapidly climb the rungs of success only to reach beyond the stars. In her unique type of regal interiors, she has been a forerunner in the Indian market who has brought about a new era of design.

First of all, the pandemic has created distance between people, which is bound to last for some time. Offices are closed and schools have been shut down. People are looking inwards, for their safe havens, which turn out to be their homes. Spaces need to be more segregated where there is a clear delineation between the areas meant for work and relaxation. At the same time, people are calling for distinct family or media rooms wherein they can bond with their families over a board game or a trendy TV show. Since the connection we have had with the outside world is getting cut off, the need for outdoor spaces in terms of balconies and terraces have also been on the rise. Best exemplified in her residence in Ireo Grand arch, located in Gurugram, this house merges an organic environment with interior spaces where the interiors have been curated in alignment with the overall architectural grammar of the space. This house has been inspired by the designer’s travels. Therefore, she can bring in the outside world with her even in her apartment. The house has a lot of warmth and comfort attached to it, since the materials used have been taken from local Indian suppliers.

Owing to the time we have been spending apart, a new horizon of design will be upon us, especially in the terms with which the interiors of public spaces will be designed. Out of the need for having clean spaces, movie theaters will have stations with hand sanitizers with it. Antimicrobial surfaces with zinc or titanium coating will also be very common as time passes. Most importantly, all traces of physical menus will disappear, and QR code menus will replace the traditional menus, especially in cinemas wherein the hassle of constantly sanitizing surfaces will be eliminated. But cinemas will also have a touch of the outside world - there will be dedicated spaces meant for waiting covered in faux grass so that it does not feel too detached and sterile. This approach has been taken by Ar. Sawhney in her hospitality project dealing with the PVR movie theater. While the outdoors are bright inside, it can also be noted that the retro and vintage elements have been brought back in order to breathe life into the interiors. So aspects of the Golden era of films have been introduced in the cinema, with gilded mirrors and old movie posters being hung on the walls.

Through a continuous process of creating dialogue between various projects to find new avenues and aesthetics, it can be seen why a new era of design is upon us.

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