Mapping new lifestyles

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The change in our lifestyles has been rapid and drastic; within a few months, we have realised that probably almost nothing will go back to the way it was before. A large number of market players and research companies are mapping the change and surveying the new trends.

One of them is EXS Italia – the Gi Group Executive Search company, which after the lockdown published the findings of a survey based on a panel of interviews with the CEOs of a number of well known interior design brands.


Co-living and shared spaces

“The social isolation measures led Italians to rethink their homes and their domestic requirements,” Filippo Cesarino, Practice Leader EXS Italia, explains. “(…) While for some time we had been seeing home-like spaces and comforts converging within workplaces, now this convergence becomes two-way: workspaces are entering homes. Comfort, considered until now as an ‘extra’, something we could do without, will become more important.”

The latest trends confirmed by the property market are the need to reorganise spaces inside the home to provide safety and the increased use of smart working, the need for the capability for several domestic activities – from play to study, from cooking to work – to take place in the same rooms simultaneously, an increased need for “co-living” and the ever-increasing demand to spend time outdoors and to organise outdoor areas, which are used as an extension of the home.


Changes are being made prior to sale

Analysing the impacts of the lockdown on the new property offering in the city of Milan, Abitare&Co, an estate agent specialising in new-builds in the Lombardy capital, reported a significant increase in technical and design work to make changes to ongoing projects for properties already being built for sale. A large number of projects initially included a high proportion of very small apartments or homes without balconies. The changes made are combining two of these units to create just one, which also has outdoor spaces. In other cases, apartments have been modulated to provide spaces intended mainly for smart working. Rooftop terraces are also being redesigned to enable them to be exploited to the full, as places for relaxing or having fun. New buyers are looking for a smaller lounge, compensated by a larger balcony and kitchen.


Utilities are the key factor

“In fact, a home is not just real estate,” Paola Caniglia, Head of BU Retail at BVA Doxa, tell us. “It’s also utilities, consumer electronics, furnishings, entertainment and more as well.”

During the lockdown weeks, many existing homes proved unsuited to withstand the impact of intensive smart working – several family members working simultaneously – which can also be expected to last over the long term.

Changing or renovating your home will require longer times and larger budgets (although the Italian tax incentives are encouraging this demand, Ed.), but more immediate results can be achieved by changing some of the furniture to create a workstation where there wasn’t one before, increasing the quality of the WiFi connection throughout the home, or acquiring a larger TV or “smart” household appliances. The lockdown experience has transformed homes into gyms, cinemas and concert halls, with a massive upturn in use of on-demand entertainment, giving a huge boost to this sector. This evolution will also encourage the creation of communal spaces within apartment blocks which can be used for these purposes or for co-working.

These are the findings of the recent BVA Doxa survey of the 2020 Market Scenarios.