Pandemic Design, Aesthetics, and Safety

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The 2019 onset of the “Corona Crisis” plunged the world in a dramatic situation that, in the greatest majority of cases, called for immediate action on every front, including that of interaction with our environment; the places that were allowed to remain open had to quickly design ways of creating social distancing in order to continue functioning and this resulted in an array of creative “emergency designs” by non-designers. This article looks at the fundamental role of design along with “emergency design” and its relation with the human prediction system and questions whether this fundamental aim was attained in the “emergency designs” of Lebanese store owners at the start of the pandemic, regardless of their lack of aesthetics. In parallel, it delves into the effects of such designs, in their social distancing function, on the people–place and people-to-people relationships and ends with a brief overview of the potential post-pandemic direction of design and our relationship with place and with others. In parallel, we examine how such designs affected the people–place and people-to-people relationships and we conclude by questioning the effects of the recent pandemic’s “emergency designs” on the long-term direction of design.