Kunal Prasad, 40, was working with an architect on the plan for his new bungalow in New Delhi, when the country went into lockdown. After three months of working from home (WFH), the director of a chemical company decided to alter the floor plans to include an office.
He’s reducing the parking space to make room for an 800 sq. ft home office on the ground floor of his multi-level, 15,000 sq. ft house. “I have realised in this lockdown that you need a dedicated work space at home," said Prasad, director of Kunal Conchem Pvt. Ltd, which makes construction chemicals. The space will include an office for his 72-year-old father, who founded the business, and a small meeting area for senior team members.
After more than three months of working from home at dining tables and on beds, people are asking architects and interior designers for help in creating home offices and soundproofing rooms.
From those living in apartments, the demand for space-saving office furniture has gone up. Incorporating greenery, space for exercise and open areas into design are also new demands architects are observing.
Delhi-based architect Nehit Vij said clients are now seeking modifications to floor plans they had approved before the lockdown. Those building independent houses want more lawn space, gadgets such as dishwashers, chimneys and big fridges in kitchens, and larger storage rooms for additional groceries and other household items.
“Earlier, people wouldn’t bother about garden or lawn space. Now, they want a home office space, specifically with audio-video conference facilities. In apartments, clients are asking for a work/study area in each room," said Vij, co-founder, Intrigue Lab.
In space-crunched apartments, carving out a dedicated work area is difficult.
To address this, people are looking for multi-functional furniture, which ensures that the space doesn’t get blocked for just one purpose.
Samir A.M., chief executive officer of Bonito Designs in Bengaluru, has been getting queries for soundproofing rooms so that family members aren’t disturbed by conference calls, compact work tables, and space to exercise.
“People are looking at space optimization now," he said. “One client, whose interiors were completed just before the lockdown, has come back asking for space-saving work tables."
His company is now offering a home office design and furnishing package.
Pallavi Vijaydeep, lead interior architect at Housejoy, said around 40% of her clients are asking for design changes that reflect their post-lockdown needs.
“Clients are now more inclined to have plants at home," she said. “People are even asking for vertical gardens, which are hard to maintain, but they really want to see greenery."