Studio Weave is well geared up for remote working but founding director Je Ahn misses tea breaks, team banter and trips to the pub.

Amid the strangeness of the Covid era of the last few months, reduced human activity has produced what feels like a profound shift in the environment. We have been reminded of our fragile relationship with “normality”, provoking a much-needed dialogue that will hopefully translate into sustained action and change.

During this time, Studio Weave has been able to keep the momentum strong despite our physical distance – our team has spanned Kent to Yorkshire, and even as far as Spain. Fortunately, we were already well geared up for remote working and, interestingly, it became easier to participate in and manage our international projects – Ireland, USA, South Korea etc – as more people became familiar with a common set of virtual tools.

However, we are friends as much as we are colleagues and we miss each other’s company. We miss our collective cooking sessions, digestive-filled tea breaks, spontaneous banter and sneaky afternoon half-pints together. Above all else, it is our friendship and trust with one another that makes collaboration more full and fruitful.

I have been guilty of quietly enjoying my immediate neighbourhoods, rediscovering the enriching pleasure of growing food and preparing loaves of bread in between various conferencing platforms. I used to spend a lot of time in transit, waiting to arrive at my destination. I can’t say that I miss that.

How will Covid change the way we live and work? Will it fundamentally change how our cities are designed and thought about? Or should it? Will there be a mass-exodus to countryside locations? Will there be a “new normal”? There are so many questions and speculations floating about at this point that I feel cautious drawing any hasty conclusions as if I were able to peer into a crystal ball. But one thing I am sure of is that I do not wish to go back to where we were, to our old behaviours – and we must not.

We have been given a powerful moment of pause. Perhaps a rare opportunity to look under the bonnet of our society while the engine has slowed. I sincerely hope that we emerge from this tunnel a kinder and fairer society, one where we care for one another more than we ever have.

Je Ahn
Hackney, London