Design is enthusiastically solving problems, a lockdown is no different.

It has been almost two months since COVID-19 upended every aspect of our lives. As designers, and lovers, of cultural institutions our entire team at hsd has certainly felt the impact. While we miss exploring the wonderful museums and parks near our offices in Leicester and Toronto, as well as many others around the world, we are encouraged by the resilience of many cultural institutions that have unveiled digital programming to keep their communities delighted, entertained and inspired.

It is that same resilience that has kept our design teams busy and working safely from the comfort of our own homes. While institutions have temporarily shut their doors, their enthusiasm to plan for remarkable experiences once they re-open has kept design processes going in the backdrop of the global crisis. It is a small beacon of optimism and hope, serving as the light at the end of the tunnel, for many clients, partners, and members of our team. The world we share is still there and we still need to be thoughtful about how we will encourage its exploration once it’s safe to do so.

With any design project we are involved in we always anticipate challenges that will require creative thinking to overcome. While the same challenge impacting every project at the same time is certainly unprecedented, we are happy to report we have risen to it. On the back end, that means we have relied on the incredibly hard work of our IT team to set up all our designers and planners to work remotely (in two different continents and time zones!).

It also means a rejig of some ongoing project work plans, shifting to teleconference and facetime, where an in-person charette or workshop with our clients was once planned. With these tweaks, we are keeping our current projects on schedule, kicking-off exciting new ventures, and finding out how fun it is to host an office happy hour remotely.

Of course, despite the valiant efforts of software engineers, digital whiteboards do not have the same magic and snap as the ones in our studio. We are ecstatic to once again be able to collaborate with our team in person and we are beyond eager to return to the field and meet our clients and their communities where they are. Until then, day-in and day-out, we are keeping busy doing what we have always done: tackling the creative challenges in front of us with the knowledge that solving them is how design works and keeps working.