This is the first of our series: ‘Life under Lockdown’, where we talk to the leaders of Australia's design sector about how it is to work and live in what is increasingly a total lockdown situation. Today we speak with Liam Proberts, managing director of bureau^proberts. The response is in its entirety and has not been altered in any way, save for grammatical or style purposes.

“COVID-19 has affected everyone.

The architecture and design industry has been affected, but not as much as other industries because of the long-term nature of design.

We’ve found that the ability for some clients to be across their projects has lessened, while other clients are committed and well set up to working remotely, so they’re motivated to keep things moving during the crisis.

Some 75 to 80 percent of our team is now working from home and we’re prepared for that number to rise to 100 percent.

IT platforms have become really important. We’ve been holding meetings where sketching on screen has replaced butcher's paper. It’s working very well and highlights the importance of clear communication. 

One of the things I value in the design process is the ability to step outside what you’re doing and reflect on your design. This paradigm has provided the perfect scenario for just that.

We often talk about the importance of being able to achieve deep concentration and focus during the design process and the need to then socialise the solution with colleagues. Ideas need to be socialised so they can be tested.

What might happen naturally in a studio session is now something that needs to be consciously put in place.

This is new for many practices and as a result, there’s still a novelty factor to it.

Working in your own space is good and it can give people the space to really focus. The downside is that you have to continuously work on collaboration and communication. We’re consciously making efforts to regularly communicate and involve everyone in our team discussions.”