#Designgoeson: Massimo Roj and Progetto CMR, digital technologies help work worldwide

#Designgoeson: Designdiffusion.com talks with Massimo Roj, founder and CEO of Progetto CMR, about new technologies and how they make it possible to work worldwide

A month after the beginning of the Italian lockdown, when all Western countries have stopped, how do you see the evolution of the economic crisis that will follow the health emergency?

The situation we have been experiencing these weeks has changed our habits, radically changing our professional and personal lives. We have all had to adapt, in a very short time, to a new way of working, based on digital connections. This emergency situation has – finally – opened up our eyes to the huge potential offered by the “digital” world. Luckily enough, at Progetto CMR, we were already organized to work remotely. Having offices in different cities around the world, we have been using new technologies to work and communicate for years. As to our projects, therefore, work has been progressing at the same pace, or even more intensely.

Discover the new headquarters of Progetto CMR

Currently, 150 employees are connected remotely, and I must say that this new way of collaboration is working very well. We are able to monitor the different stages of ongoing projects in a very agile way, and we are all constantly updated on the activities. The new technologies also allow us to have a continuous and constant dialogue with our clients, which allows us to smoothly progress with our projects. Of course, the suspension of construction sites causes some problems but we hope that we will catch up quickly when we will reopen. The health emergency, however, will be followed by an economic crisis, which will have a big impact on all production scenarios worldwide.

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How do you see the situation in China, where activities are resuming?

After almost two months of total stop, activities in China are now gradually returning to normal. All our colleagues are back in the offices, after an initial phase when they took turns. Design activities are going on, but actually they never stopped because also in China they were working remotely. We are receiving signs of cautious optimism, with a return to activities with many precautions to avoid new infections. We were also very pleased to receive support and assistance from our Chinese clients, who also provided us with protective equipment, such as masks.

The cancellation of the Salone del Mobile is definitely an unexpected event caused by the health emergency. Do you think that Salone del Mobile di Milano can be replaced?

The Salone del Mobile di Milano is irreplaceable: it is a unique concentration of innovation, research, events, international exchanges, new visions and new edges. It is really difficult to imagine Milan without its flagship event and I must confess that the cancellation of this year’s edition makes me a little sad. However, I hope that the next edition, having an extra year available, will be even more interesting.

Can virtual communication replace, at least in part, events such as Milan’s Salone del Mobile?

As I have said, this unforeseen event has forced us to make a sudden leap towards virtual communication. In these days we have discovered that we can experience numerous events, concerts, theatre shows, conferences, webinars strictly online and from home. However, digital and physical experiences are not the same. The social experience of events, in person, remains unique precisely because it is physical. Like the last event we organized, the presentation of the book I wrote, Rocktecture, edited by Fortunato D’Amico, in the Unipol Urban UP building, one of our firm’s recent projects. The experience of the presentation, the venue, the music, the atmosphere, cannot be reproduced from a distance. As Queen used to say, “it’s a kind of magic,” an alchemic combination that can hardly be conveyed via monitor.

Read also the other interviews with leading figures from the design world:

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