Post-Covid19 rebirth: a view from designer Juanny Barcelò Borges

I: Juanny, when it comes to global brands, what main changes are obvious in their activities in the third decade of 2020?

J: Today we can safely say that 2020 has become a symbolic threshold of the era. Companies are developing the business ethics and focus mostly on protecting human health, environment, and local communities. Civil rights and the dignity of each individual are a paramount priority. Digital technologies are leveraged to support this idea. At the same time, brands are moving away from globalization to individual storytelling. They plant their image on feelings, aesthetics, and attention to detail. A new trend combines tradition and innovation to create a more comfortable life

I: What specific trends can we already make out?

J: I would like to highlight five main paradigms that will define the twenties:

  1. In the future, unique offers will meet universal demand, local products will be increasingly valued, and great efforts will be made to create "added value".
  2. The ethics of business will prevail
  3. Companies' activities will become more transparent and clearer for the consumers. Implementation of innovative protocols (for example, blockchain) that will guarantee business transparency
  4. There will be a tendency to create a balance between business and environment. A low-carbon economy will be assisted by digital technologies
  5. Social pact between politics and business will be made. It will lead to reducing social inequality, taking care of the environment, and supporting health and education

I: Juanny, the Italian economy has suffered significant losses due to the virus and lockdown restrictions. What is your scenario for ending the crisis?

J: The paradigms discussed above will define a new global scenario where each country will have to find its own unique role and rely on its own talents and identity. Italian appetite for beauty and high quality can be a vital feature for developing competent Italian production. Italy is a laboratory for turning lead into gold. This is the magic of the impossible, turning emotions into material things, creating know-how while encouraging tradition and modesty. The phenomenon that will be revived is the Italian enlightenment—the desire to bring Italian delicacy, taste, and way of thinking into the world. In the future, the individual and unique will be crucial; a consumer becomes an author; and consumption becomes the opportunity to learn and choose with no boundaries.Italy will become an aesthetic platform, the world's main producer of beauty and taste. The consumer market feels an increasing need for emotions, which is replacing luxury and prestige. The products that reflect the history of the country and its main heroes come to the fore. A vivid example is al dente cooking that revolutionized the syntax of taste. Al dente is something between raw and cooked, a typical local art of compromise, the best Italian recipe.

I: What are the ways in which the world of marketing has changed? How do companies build new, "post-quarantine" communications with consumers?

J: The most important question companies should ask themselves: "How can I contribute?" Apple has mobilized its resources to produce PPE, major retailers Loblaw and Save-on-Foods have increased their salaries, and Nike has temporarily canceled subscription fees for its app to help people stay fit during the lockdown. According to Reach3 Insights, 76% of consumers have acquired new habits after COVID-19 pandemic, and 89% of them plan to stick to some of their new habits. The consumers try new products, and 36% of them plan to keep on using the discovered brands after COVID-19. These steps go beyond marketing and may not immediately increase sales, but they will strengthen goodwill and ensure long-term loyalty.No matter how long the crisis lasts, COVID-19 will change the consumer landscape forever. Companies should maintain the minimum possible amount of stocks to meet projected needs. The development of digital technologies and demand/sales planning make it possible. This means that marketing will drop off such orthodox stuff like sales, discounts, and promotions. They are becoming obsolete as companies adjust their stocks to get rid of overproduction.Since personal contacts are reduced, the whole world of communication is becoming virtual – and this trend will definitely remain in post-quarantine brand management.

I: Juanny, let's talk about trends in interior design. What changed due to the lockdown? What trends will be popular in 2021?

J: The lockdown affected interior design as well as almost all areas of life and economy. We will notice new trends in any interior project in 2021. Let's discuss them:

1. A canopy bed. Beds with a canopy bed frame are a turning point in modern interior design

2. Classic naval color. Many interiors adopt this calm elevated hue

3. Colored glass and screening. Glass partitions and color zoning

4. Curved shapes. Curved elements are favored to contrast with structured architectural lines

5. Luxury minimalistic design. Handmade designer products will be in demand—that is the way to make interiors unique

6. Neutral colors will become the main interior trend in 2021. People feel a growing need to have their own comfortable environment, a kind of shelter to stay in

7. 80's—that's a fresh view. The original bright design of the 80's is trendy again

8. Interior and home gardens meet the need of daily contact with nature

9. The mixed-use spaces

10. 2021 will also take advantage of a deep green hue to echo nature in the interior

11. Boho-chic—the style filled with bright, ornate, and multicultural elements

12. The maximum use of hands-free systems in residential areas: hands-free devices and sensor devices (faucets, automatic flushing toilets, doors, voice remote controls for TV and sound systems, voice-controlled refrigerators and coffee machines, and step-on self-sealing trash cans). Keyless access to premises with the help of smartphones or infrared access control systems

13. More sinks. As nowadays hand washing has become a regular practice, a half-bath room or just a sink at the entrance will become quite common

14. Open spaces in residential areas—a furnished back yard, veranda or balcony. Open spaces will become popular as people on lockdown crave sunlight, fresh air, a change of scenery, and the opportunity to socialize at least with neighbors and friends

15. Privacy is trendy—avoid open floor plans. Many homeowners have rediscovered the importance of doors.

16. Work zones. The pandemic has increased the number of home-based workers, and it is likely that this will continue into the future. We will reinterpret space to make sure that those who work from home have an office zone away from home hustle and that children have a quiet place to study as well. There is a need for a special teleconferencing space that keeps dirty dishes or unmade beds offscreen and minimizes noise from pets or children

17. More food storage spaces. Food stocks created during the pandemic has raised a need for more storerooms and freezers – this makes us feel more secure at home

18. Delivery spaces. We need to change the way we receive packages so that we don't have to meet with the delivery person. This assumes that the house should be equipped with a box for receiving parcels or an adjacent room with a hole for parcels

19. Speaking of trends in outdoor spaces, comfort will be first and foremost. The tendency to spend more time at home prioritizes turning living spaces into perfect sanctuaries from the world. Emphasis is placed on lighting, plant materials and natural fibers

In preparing the material, the following resources were used:

1. "The rebirth of Italy" by Francesco Morace.

Author: Elena Belenkaya