Outdoor spaces have significantly gained in prominence throughout the pandemic. From outdoor dining to outdoor working, the great outdoors has proven to be a lifeline for many businesses. With the pandemic far from over, it’s become clear that outdoor spaces will continue to be a major design consideration for projects now and in the future.
One of the industries that has felt the effects of the pandemic like no other is the hospitality sector. As cities across the world opened up their streets for outdooring dining, restaurants quickly adapted. From carpark cabanas, sidewalk igloos, and curb side huts to complete outdoor restaurant kits, there have been plenty of creative ideas to ensure restaurants were able to continue operating throughout the pandemic. With winter approaching, outdoor heating will be crucial to ensure that customers are able to continue supporting the industry.
Although portable gas heaters have become a hot item across the world, many urban centers like NYC have put strict guidelines on the operation and storage of propane gas. The installation of fixed gas or electric heaters is a good alternative for courtyards, patios and sidewalk dining spaces. Heaters can be mounted on walls or hung from outdoor structures like gazebos or pergolas, where they ensure that patrons will continue to receive an indoor dining experience, even during the colder months.
The pandemic forced many of us to spend more time at home than ever before, so it’s only natural that a lot of homeowners started to look at improving their own living spaces. With holiday plans put on hold, homeowners quickly shifted their attention from exotic destinations to the creation of backyard retreats, sparking a DIY boom that fueled the demand for outdoor accessories.
The desire to spend as much outdoor time as possible is likely to accelerate over the coming months as colder temperatures are settling in. Outdoor heating will be a key element in any backyard improvement project. When paired with a louvered roof, wall or ceiling mounted heaters can easily create a warm and comfortable outdoor space that transcends the boundaries between the inside and the outside.
Well before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, designers and architects touted the great outdoors as the “new frontier in office space”. Tech companies like Facebook and Samsung are already offering their employees various outdoor spaces and are reporting great results when it comes to employee satisfaction. The benefits are vast and well-documented, with the majority of research focusing on the positive effects on employee health, emotional wellbeing, stress relief, productivity, and creativity. On top of that, access to natural light and fresh air fulfill basic human needs and can have a significant effect on employee satisfaction and retention.
As with any good office design – indoors or outdoors, rooftops or patios – it will be important to put people first. Well-designed outdoor workspaces that can be utilized all year around will be key to employee safety and wellbeing moving forward. Regardless of the location and environment of the workplace, providing employees with shelter from sun, wind and rain will be a key requirement, as will be outdoor heating.
The Future of Outdoor Design
There is no doubt that the current pandemic will have a profound impact on design considerations for years to come. Public outdoor spaces like parks, shopping plazas, market squares and other outdoor areas are finally being recognized as an essential element of any urban design project. From open air cinemas and theatres to outdoor retail and street side dining, the next few years will be dominated by a move outdoors.
However, in a time where the hazards of indoor activities have become tragically clear, outdoor spaces will need to work even harder to achieve the level of comfort that indoor spaces can offer. The integration of outdoor heating into urban, residential, and commercial design concepts will ensure that the “Great New Outdoors” is not only a functional and safe place, but also a space that the public can feel comfortable in all year around.
Download our outdoor room planning guide for advice on how to create the perfect outdoor space!
- On November 6, 2020