Interview with Rafiq Azam, founder of Shatotto
1. How did your firm handle the lockdown?
2. What new forms of work are you experimenting with and how about the results?
3. How do you think this experience will affect the future management of an architectural practice?
Because of the lockdown, the ability to remain connected is more important than ever. Now that many of us are homebound and working from home offices, we are able to achieve a new kind of connection with each other and the world. The resulting departure from the status quo (and the establishment of a new one) sheds some light on the fragility of the human condition.
During the formation of our Mother Earth, humans were among the most recent beings to emerge, yet we wrongfully claimed ownership of the planet and began treating her in the worst ways imaginable – polluting her waters, destroying her forests, and killing her wildlife for sport instead of subsistence. Our actions cost us the friendship we had with nature.
COVID-19 is not only a pandemic, but also a message from mother nature reminding us of her existence and of our vulnerability. Funnily enough, many of our world leaders invested most of their time, money, and talent into creating and solving false crises to further their own agendas instead of saving fellow humans from real crises.
At this point in time, we are not taking on any new projects, but working on existing ones with a new perspective. We are working on becoming truly connected with flora, fauna, water, and nature as a whole even without the ability to safely go outside.
I believe this crisis like many other in history will be over soon, but let this period be considered a great pause in the forward march of progress to allow us a moment of enlightenment through a deconstruction of the status quo and our thought processes for a new world. As 12th century philosopher and poet Jalaluddin Rumi said, “Act like a tree, drop the dead leaves.”