In this era of pandemonium , many people spend most of their time in their own homes, which generates the need to revise the living space to our real needs. We are well aware of the triumphant trends of Danish hygge or Swedish fica, which have been celebrating for several years, which refers not only to what we do to slow down, catch balance and harmony, but also how and with whom. It's a certain state of mind and way of being. But how has our approach actually been validated by current circumstances? How has the concept of coziness evolved?
The hygge philosophy emphasizes slowing down, detaching from external reality in favor of being here and now, returning to what is local and natural. Fika, on the other hand, is the ritual of drinking coffee with family or friends, which is an expression of openness to another person, togetherness and ruminating. Hence, coziness is largely associated firstly with being together, and secondly with comfort, convenience, an unforced way of being, of which the most flagship visualization, but also a kind of cliché, is watching movies together under a blanket with a mug of hot tea or a glass of good wine in hand, or sitting by the fireplace, preferably with wood that you have chopped yourself.
screens and led lights
However, the new coziness goes in a slightly different direction, as it is paradoxically linked to acceleration, despite the fact that to a large extent external reality has forcibly slowed down. This acceleration is combined with new technologies, which, despite the pandemic situation, or rather because of it, are developing at their best, making a developmental leap of several years in principle. The new coziness is a constant connection to the web, social media, contact with what we are necessarily cut off from, and relationships that have largely become virtualized.
Technology as an integral part of the new coziness
photo by Ales Nesetril © Unsplash
This change is led primarily by Generation Z, which is marking its rise to cultural prominence in this way.Added to this is a slightly different notion of coziness, related to space, so the central place is taken by the bed or couch as a kind of command center along with a laptop and phone, led lights of varying colors and changing colors of lighting depending on the mood - from intense magenta to soothing orange to deep ultramarine. The distinctive lighting of the space is a kind of extension of the light coming from the phone or computer screen, allowing the hybridization of virtual and non-virtual space.
Interior view of a room with led lighting
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris © Unsplash
Streaming platforms and goggles for VR
A good sound system has also become an important element, because if we spend a large part of our time at home turning on music, the quality and comfort of listening has become a very important issue, and for many people a key one, as it drowns out the often unpleasant silence. Because, we should add, being together has also been redefined. If we don't live with a family, partner or partner, or in any other relationship arrangement, we spend most of our time alone or by ourselves. The issue of simulating presence, for example by listening to music, podcasts, watching movies or turning on the TV as background noise, is now a completely natural activity. This often involves having more than one subscription subscribed to streaming platforms such as Netflix or HBO, which have seen a huge increase in subscribers with the onset of the pandemic. Our use of new technologies is, of course, related to work, which has largely become virtualized, but also to pleasure, such as games (quite recently, after all, there was the release of the cult game Cyberpunk 2077) and the purchase, therefore, of consoles or VR headsets, which are already increasingly common not only for cyber fans and fanboys. Add to this minimalist kit a diffuser in place of scented candles or incense, and you actually get a pretty clear picture of the new coziness.
Goggles for VR
Photo by Uriel Soberanes © Unsplash
coziness and capitalism
So, in the current approach to coziness, we primarily rely on the relationship with the screen and a kind of, often unconscious, transfer of the aesthetics of the virtual to the real, blurring and softening the boundary between the two. Unlike hygge, the technological new coziness does not escape from virtualization and simulation in favor of the external and the "real," as reality happens on the screen. But, of course, like every trend, this one also stems from capitalist mechanisms, encoding in us the need to buy, to exploit, to replace. This aesthetic has spread very quickly, and we can watch the new coziness on You Tube by typing "room makeover 2020" or "cozy roomtour." It's hard to say whether the new coziness is beneficial or not, it's just different and perhaps it will stay with us for a long time.