Architects and designers are trained to think outside the square, respond with agility, meet challenges head-on and invent creative solutions. Elton Group spoke to a few members of the A&D community about the dynamics of working during the lockdown and their responses were a mixture of new opportunities for client engagement and servicing, new ways of thinking about their ways of working, the importance of connecting with team plus adopting a few good habits learned on the side.

We are all thinking and rethinking about and using our home differently, says Georgia Ezra of Studio Ezra. “A conscious dwelling makes for a sound mind, meaningful connections and complete clarity.”

Alex Mason from Studio aem adds, “I often start my day off in my office and then move to the dining room table and then on to the rear patio in our private sunny garden. On the cooler days, I follow the sunshine around; it’s interesting to see how we are all connected to nature even on a subconscious level.”

Many practices have adopted new team habits. Brendon Wong Design meets “Friday mornings with a team dress up zoom. It’s ridiculous and a great circuit breaker that lets us express our personal creativity and laugh. This is something we won’t do outside of WFH, so it’s special. The upside of lockdown,” says Georgia Hawkins, adding, “I now dress for comfort at work. This will not change. I used to persist with uncomfortable shoes… and that battle is over for good, thanks to the pandemic.”

Amanda Pocock of ACP Studio has developed a beautiful process of packaging and sending clients physical samples boxed like gifts for the full tactile experience. Who doesn’t enjoy the feel of timber veneer? “The hard finishes and samples which I normally present in person are delivered to my clients in a beautifully presented gift box. This change has been received delightfully by my clients and evokes a feeling of excitement,” she shared.

She also notes, “I’ve found that clients who I would normally not be able to service in a traditional face-to-face environment, such as interstate or out of area projects have been incredibly open and accommodating, allowing for a really successful remotely designed project.”

Clients’ expectations have also changed with many marching into the new world with unabashed positivity and opportunity for Australian designers and suppliers looking local more than ever.

Used to working collaboratively, extended time working solo can be challenging. A number of designers interviewed chain listen to podcasts for company. “It’s a great opportunity to gather knowledge whilst being creative (or administrative). It is lonely; however, I can listen to whatever I like, control the temperature… and be relatively uninterrupted.”

And because designers are just people too, on a personal level, Karen Garrett from FJMT shared, “The kids are learning how to cook, we are all exercising more and finding time for our personal projects – not just the paid ones!”