We’ve launched our new,’ Ten Minutes With,’ series to give businesses the opportunity to tell us how they’ve been doing in lockdown and what they’ve done to cope in this new world we’re living in.
We want to know how you’ve adapted and if you’ve got any advice for other businesses as we head towards a new kind of normal.
This week we’re talking to the owner and founder of Mode Architects Kim Mountford.
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Tell us about your business?
At Mode Architects we specialise in both residential and commercial architecture.
We work with our clients to design exceptional properties and support them right through from project preparation to construction and handover.
We have extensive experience in both the residential and commercial sectors, from new builds and private extensions to industrial units, offices and hospitality developments.
What did you do before launching your business?
Before launching Mode Architects in February 2017, I worked for another architectural practice for a number of years. Prior to that, while I was studying for an Architectural degree in LiverpooI, I worked for Red Bull. I was part of the area sales team, doing promotional and marketing work, at events like Creamfields and the F1 at Silverstone, across the North West which was really good fun.
Why do you do what you do?
I love the variety of my work, meeting different people and helping them solve problems. Seeing a project finished and a client happy is ultimately the best part of my job.
What advice do you have for companies during this time?
I think we all realise that the impact of COVID-19 is going to be long-term, especially in terms of the way we work.
Businesses need to be looking how they can be flexible with their office space layout to make sure they’re adhering to the latest guidance.
You can re-plan office space without having to make structural changes and we can help with that, especially as the guidance is likely to carry on changing, so avoiding costly structural work is a bonus
Often architectural design isn’t just about structural design it’s about planning the best use of space, and at the moment using space cleverly in order to keep employees safe and make sure the guidance is met is crucial.
How has lockdown been for business?
Like many other businesses, we’ve worked from home and it was quieter at first as projects were put on hold, but things are definitely picking up now.
Being at home has spurred me onto make the changes I wanted to make when I moved in and I’m definitely going to draw up plans to make the space my own.
I think a lot of people have been doing the same – we’ve had enquiries about loft conversions, extensions and making internal alterations to make office space. Being at home has definitely given people the time to reassess their home environments.
Have you learnt anything about yourself?
I think lockdown has confirmed that I love talking to and meeting people. I’ve really missed the social element of life, especially seeing friends and family.
Are you going to do anything differently?
We’ve used this time to digitise our management systems to make it easier to carry out some meetings virtually, so that side of things will continue. Face to face meetings still have their place, although of course we’ll be adhering to all the social distancing guidelines.
For us being able to bounce ideas off each other when we’re in the office undoubtedly helps us solve problems quickly and be more creative so I’m looking forward for us all being back together.
What are your plans for the future?
We’ve got new office premises in Hanley (former NHS Building, pictured) that we were planning to renovate before we moved in but obviously Covid-19 has delayed our plans. I’m really looking forward to making the space our own and moving the team in there, later this year. We’re also launching a new website so I can’t wait to get that live.
And finally, if you didn’t own Mode Architects what would your dream job have been?
At school I wanted to design cars or furniture for a living, so designing buildings is a very close runner up.