Impact of COVID-19: A Perspective on US Design Industries Adapting in a Time of Change 23rd March 2020 | IN DESIGN ADVICE | BY SBID

We got in touch with the President of SBID, designer and founder of marquardt+, Tom Marquardt to share his perspective on how the design industry has been and will be impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, providing his unique insight into how businesses are being forced to adapt to continue to support employees, customers and clients by providing flexible and innovative solutions in response to the challenging social climate created by the spread of COVID-19.

Today’s Chicago weather looked more like early spring in London, with a beautiful mist fog coming off the lake, and a crisp spring air that I love when I am here, or there. After our gyms were closed in Chicago, we decided to get on nature’s treadmill with proper social distancing, and power walk along Lake Michigan, before more restrictive shelter-in-place measures are imposed and we then have to start to do daily runs on our back stairs and exercise in place.

Vanessa Brady reached out to me to ask about my perspective on the pandemic impact on the industry here in the US. I can only assume it is the same here as everywhere, with practices working digitally and remote, winding down work put on hold, and strategising how to support our clients with a new long term view, as well as for ongoing projects.

For example, m+ just created and designed a major interiors product manufacturer’s brand including the brand launch originally to be live at their national sales meeting. Once it became apparent due to travel restrictions that they had to cancel, we quickly re-planned the entire experience with their team to be digital, online and live in 4 days. We still dressed up and I for one wore a suit and tie in the client’s new brand colours while on screen presenting from my desk in the m+ garden studio space, in our home. It went off without a hitch and everyone was reinvigorated by this positive and unique experience, receiving the right tools for their sales team to move forward with and solve more challenges.

And honestly, that is the point. We are all in interior design and many related design fields because we are creative problem solvers. We have the advantage of being predisposed to proactively thinking outside the box, utilising our skillsets to solve our client’s problems with finesse and completion to make their lives easier, more beautiful, functional and comfortable. That is what we do.

So, what is happening in the US and the design industry? Creative people are adapting and planning and innovating, looking towards what could be versus just what might be, and turning a bad situation into a learning point and a challenge to make things better, even if that means doing it differently. I for one would like to challenge you to find it in yourselves to do the same. So that’s what is going on, at least in our world over here on the other side of the pond.

My most cherished best to you, those you work with, and those you love, as we move onwards and upwards towards a new beginning, together on the other side.

– Tom

Tom Marquardt  | SBID | IIDA | AMA-EC

President, Society of British and International Interior Design

President & Founder, marquardt+