Updated: Jun 14, 2022
The pandemic has changed the industry in many ways: how we work and how we design spaces. It takes a lot to be able to cope with the changing times, but perhaps not for Camyl Besinga of Gal at Home® who has been an early adopter of e-designing.
We sat down with Camyl and had a conversation about building a business with a new kind of business model and how she designed homes in the last few years.
1. How has the pandemic changed the way you design residential homes?
Just before the first lockdown in 2020, I had already been preparing to launch my eDesign service. Back then, I got a lot of pushback from designers and clients alike about it, saying that the local market wasn't ready for such a business model. But lockdown immediately changed everyone's perspective about it, and it made perfect sense for people who needed help with their homes but didn't want to meet face to face. Now even my full interior design service has some digital/online elements to it, and it's made communicating with clients and trades so much easier and simpler.
2. For 2022, what design trends do you see for homes?
The most obvious trend that we're seeing is the need for people to have their own separate spaces in even the smallest of homes. Before, open-plan spaces and shared living were the norm. Nowadays, there is a great need for people to have their own workspaces and study areas in the home. The challenge now is how to make these workspaces blend in seamlessly into one's home and at the same time still have some semblance of productivity and efficiency.
In the color sphere, we're somehow seeing globally the return to beige (from an obsession the past few years with white and gray). But instead of the outdated "Tuscan" beige that dominated much of the '90s, we're seeing a penchant for taupes, milky lattes, cognac, or camel. Then these are either paired with muted tones like sage, blush, or coffee. Or for contrast, a bit of black.
3. What’s the most important factor in designing a residential space?
For me, the function should still take precedence over form. I've had numerous clients who request "pretty" over practical, and most of the time, these items proved useless in the space. This is especially important for those who are on a budget because purchasing a pretty but unusable piece will just be a waste of money. Luckily, the home and decor industry in the Philippines is booming, and there are now so many sellers, crafters, and brands to choose from other than the usual big-box or department-store retailers. Finding a functional piece that still looks aesthetically pleasing is much easier now than it has been in the past.
That said, it's always best to look at a space and see how every member of the household uses it. If a blank entryway ends up being a depository for everyone's shoes, then it makes sense to design the space with this function in mind.
4. Are there lessons from the pandemic that we learned in terms of designing spaces (homes, establishments, cities)?
In my experience, the home's entryway has forever changed after the pandemic. I have not entered a home now where people do not need to pause at the entryway—to disinfect, to shed off layers of clothing, and shoewear. The same can be said for commercial establishments and offices. How do we enter a space and not bring the "unfavorable" with us? How do we make this experience less cumbersome, but instill the idea that it is and always will be a necessity? There's a need to put much thought into an area that wasn't really given much attention before, particularly in residential spaces.