SPACE FLEXIBILITY and well-being are at the forefront of post-pandemic design trends, according to experts.

“Biophilic design, sustainability, and well-being have become crucial nowadays,” said Steve Leung, founder of Hong Kong-based Steve Leung Design Group Ltd., at the Sept. 23 press conference for the launch of the KOHLER Bold Design Awards (KBDA) 2021.

Mr. Leung is one of the seven judges for the KBDA, which recognizes outstanding design projects and talents in property design in the Asia Pacific region.

Spaces will also need to be flexible to multifunctional needs. “With a lot working from home, post-COVID design will blur traditional homes and conventional workplaces,” he added.

The spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) also accelerated awareness and sensitivity to cleanliness, Brian Lum, vice-president of Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Design Services Asia Pacific, said in the same event.

“Cleanliness used to be more discreet… [Now] people want to see what we are doing to look after their safety,” Mr. Lum said.

Andre Fu, founder of André Fu Studio in Hong Kong, said apart from cleanliness he is looking for design entries that create an emotional balance for people as they experience a particular space.

“In the context of hospitality, it’s about balancing the idea of social distancing whilst trying maintain the energy of a space,” he said. “That will be crucial.”

While technology has had an impact in design projects, Chris Godfrey, global principal of HBA Residential in Singapore, believes there is a quest for simplicity at this time. 

“That can be a beautiful view, a nice shaft of light in the space, a sense of the outside,” he said.

Technology’s integration into design is meant to support people in their lives, Mr. Godfrey added.

“We never curate other people’s lives [in our work]. We support it. That’s how I see technology. If technology can support lives [in residences], that can only be a good thing,” he said.

The KBDA will recognize the “boldest” designs for apartments, villas, urban hotels, resorts, restaurants and retail stores. There are also awards for innovation and sustainability, as well as prodigies and influencers.

Eligible projects are those located in the Asia Pacific (Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Mongolia) and should have been completed between Jan. 1, 2019 to Aug. 31, 2021. Submission of entries ends on Dec. 15, 2021, with the announcement of nominees on Jan. 15, 2022. — Patricia B. Mirasol