Work globally: How does the internationally active architecture firm MVRDV work in times of Corona?
Architects: MVRDV, Rotterdam (NL), Paris (FR), Shanghai (CN)
Interview: Leoni Spies
How has everyday life in your office been changed by the virus?
Inger Kammeraat: Our working methods have changed drastically. At an early stage, we started working more and more from home. Normally our head office in Rotterdam is a convivial and lively place. Here everyone comes together to work, meet, have lunch, give lectures, receive guests and so on. Now it is quiet here; the colourful rooms are empty with only a few colleagues we needed for the operational side of our work, the rest of us work in the home office.
How do you deal with the Corona crisis - are your projects still going on?
We are making good progress and are continuing to design various projects. Of course this is a crisis that cannot be ignored. We have to take a close look at what kind of projects our customers are currently willing to invest in. We can handle 140 ongoing projects in 25 countries per year. Even if there are projects that have been put on hold for the time being, we have enough projects that are still being worked on. In this sense it is a blessing to work globally, because some Asian countries are starting up again.
What tips can you give your colleagues?
Stay optimistic, stay available and keep the team spirit. For the latter, we organize additional online meetings to maintain the family feeling for which MVRDV is known. Furthermore, there are always offers for projects, even in difficult times. Also use the time you have to work on the publication or on ideas you always wanted to work on but never had time for. This will give you new energy!
What are your plans for the time after the quarantine?
Every summer we organize a big BBQ with all our staff. This summer it will feel especially good as a nice celebration after the crisis. Although this crisis is harmful, both in terms of our health and probably in our wallets, I hope that we can learn lessons from it: fly less, design more sustainable buildings, raise awareness of the social aspects of architecture and urban planning. What it will be like can be seen in China, where life is becoming a little more normal every day.