do mal o menos
How many changes have you done to your interior space during this past year? Whether it was a change of furniture layout, repainting the walls, adding more light fixtures or perhaps even removing them, after spending so much time in one place, the space you were once used to didn’t make sense anymore. We could blame the overall situation for how we’ve been feeling lately, but as a matter of fact, the interior environment plays a huge role in how we feel or behave as well. However, if you were wondering why some neighbors seem much more undisturbed and serene even in the midst of a pandemic, it could be because the interior is greener on the other side.
Having access to a bathroom is, above all, a factor of dignity. As basic as this fact may seem, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to basic sanitation facilities, such as bathrooms or latrines. Such inadequate sanitation causes 432,000 deaths annually, mainly from diarrhea, in addition to being an aggravating factor for several neglected tropical diseases including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma. In 2010, the UN (United Nations) labeled sanitation a basic right, alongside access to drinking water.
Over the past few decades, interior spaces have become increasingly open and versatile. From the thick walls and multiple subdivisions of Palladian villas, for example, to today's free-standing and multi-functional plans, architecture attempts to combat obsolescence by providing consistently efficient environments for everyday life, considering both present and future use. And while Palladio's old villas can still accommodate a wide variety of functions and lifestyles, re-adapting their use without changing an inch of their original design, today, flexibility seems to be the recipe for extending the useful life of buildings as far as possible.
How, then, can we design spaces neutral and flexible enough to adapt to the evolving human being, while still accomplishing the needs that each person requires today? An ancient element could help redefine the way we conceive and inhabit space: curtains.
In 2018, the UN released an article stating that 55% of the world’s population already lived in urban areas, predicting that by 2050 this percentage would reach 68%. This trend toward greater urbanization carries with it several implications regarding environmental degradation and social inequality. According to National Geographic, urban growth increases air pollution, endangers animal populations, promotes the loss of urban tree cover, and heightens the likelihood of environmental catastrophes such as flash flooding. These health hazards and catastrophic phenomena may be more likely to impact poorer populations, as larger cities tend to demonstrate higher rates of economic inequality and uncontrolled growth tends to produce unequal distributions of space, services, and opportunities.
To mitigate these negative effects of urbanization, designers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability and the maximization of available space – allowing more people to occupy less space with a smaller footprint.