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Sumit Dhawaan from Cityspace'82 Architects on how design firms are coping with the post-pandemic world

Sumit Dhawaan from Cityspace'82 Architects on how design firms are coping with the post-pandemic world

The world has come to terms with the fact that the virus is here to stay. But in a shift away from damaging nationwide lockdowns, the governments are looking for targeted ways to find and stop outbreaks before the third or fourth wave hits us. Organisations are now trying to return to a reimagined world, i.e. the age of coronavirus, where social distancing, appropriate hygiene standards and government-imposed restrictions for better public health management are infused into nearly every activity.

After days of curfew and total lockdown, with the exception of essential services, architects and designers have inched towards near-normalcy with some welcome relaxations, but it is time to learn to live with the novel coronavirus. Much has changed in this post-pandemic world. Offices are opening with limited staff; businesses are slowly but steadily getting back on their feet. As construction sites open, work is resuming as we all adjust to the new normal.

The first thing the firm did after the restrictions were uplifted was getting back to work and it was a paradigm shift, as it’s been for everyone. Apart from taking the usual precautionary measures, the team at Cityspace’82 Architects has been making a deliberate attempt to avoid physical meetings, which is by default an excellent social distancing measure. If a client still needs to meet in person, he/she is sanitized at the entry and made to sit at a safe distance. Every Saturday the office is fully sanitized and employees wear masks, face shield, and gloves throughout the day.

The sudden lockdown resulted in the halting of projects, which have now resumed. And although manpower is not available to full capacity, things are slowly and gradually getting better. Once the labour force is back, 80% of the normalcy can be achieved in a month’s time.

As mentioned above, apart from taking the usual precautionary measures the team at the design firm has been making a deliberate attempt to avoid physical meetings, which is by default an excellent social distancing measure. If a client still needs to meet in person, he/she is sanitized at the entry & made to sit at a safe distance. Every Saturday the office is fully sanitized and employees wear masks, face shield and gloves throughout the day. The sudden lockdown resulted in the halting of projects, which have now resumed. Although the manpower is not available to full capacity, things are slowly & gradually getting better.

The design of the workplace is modified in terms of spacing between the workstations. It is ensured that each employee sits at a safe distance from the other. Each workstation table is equipped with a hand sanitizer bottle, a mask, a face shield and gloves.

The pandemic has certainly accounted for technical changes in specifications and services rather than aesthetics. For instance, there are now new benchmarks for HVAC systems, where the indoor air quality is enhanced using fresh air. Automation has become a new part and parcel of design.  Installations like sensor doors, sensor taps, automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand-sanitizer dispensers are new needs and trends.
Coronavirus may not have a predominant effect on the architecture and interior designing industry.  In fact, it is a temporary situation in which people will overcome over a period of time. There have definitely been habitual changes where the flexibility of design is working wonders. Bright side, COVID-19 has given a new perspective and ideology to the designers, where they are deciding to incorporate a modular approach towards design, which may definitely help the buildings come out better.

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