The RMJM Team Address Post-Pandemic Design Challenges

A team of three young designers from our Dubai studio were shortlisted this year for the Downtown Design annual exhibition. The theme of this year’s submissions was ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ which invited architects and designers to imagine how we will live, work and play in a post-pandemic world. The RMJM team, comprised of Varsha Vasant, Doruk Alpsar and Noor Majid, join 27 other architecture firms for the event which takes place from the 9th to the 14th of November.

Varsha, Doruk and Noor, inspired by the exhibition brief, created their versatile “Revival Garden” design. The design proposes a series of smart spaces that use green technology. These adaptable pods would use digital screens while operating over a universal grid that could be retrofitted into urban landscapes. The team wanted to create a design that would offer free access to collaborative spaces for both work and play to support people who may not be best equipped to adapt to life in this new, post-pandemic environment. They hoped that their design would offer tangible benefits to communities by contributing to their mental and physical wellbeing. As many urban areas have limited natural spaces, their design hoped to utilise those spaces that are available to enable communities to interact more regularly while still in keeping with pandemic regulations in order to foster more vibrant and healthy neighbourhoods.

The new models of social interaction that occur within virtual environments, such as distance learning, zoom meetings and other forms of digital collaboration are now becoming commonplace as societies settle into their respective ‘new normal’. However, our current theories on residential design and urban planning were unprepared for this emerging reality. The RMJM team wanted to reimagine conventional design expectations and integrate our natural and digital spheres into a new, functional space that is accessible by all.