Working with a decentralised team has its pros and cons. We have the option of working in the comfort of our homes or we can be with the team and get front row access to the magic happening in the factory. There’s so much happening both locally and globally and all being done in a very unique way.
It is quite exciting to see progress daily. One moment the base pylons are painted in a taupe base coat. The next time you look, it’s a bright white to the point where the water will be. You can start to paint the picture in your mind especially witnessing the scale first hand.
In one area someone is covered in white working what will be the jacuzzi. Over to the right, sparks are flying as welding is being done on small parts of the base, or “tripod”. Going over to the next warehouse, finish samples are being sanded and epoxied to work out what will be the best for the kitchen.
Yesterday we spent time measuring the ‘pizza slices’ – 12 red coloured molds that were fashioned from the top part of the SeaPod mockup. Our digital scans failed us so we needed to meticulously measure the various curvatures, lengths, widths and sections so we can fashion drawings for the construction team and check the accuracy of the models. As the saying goes, measure twice, cut once. Materials are costly so it’s best practice to review and coordinate.
We have a team working with us in South Africa. It allow us to work on a 24 hour cycle. It works as long as the communication chain is in place and there’s wifi service. We took the sketches with the measurements, photographed them adding notes and sent them via WhatsApp as a screenshot image. It’s a test – can we communicate clearly and do our measurements add up.
In the office, we communicate digitally with other designers. Our email chains replace the coffee machine talk. Personalities come out through response rate, sign-offs and problem solving. We haven’t even heard each other’s voices yet.
Though speaking of voices, I did just hear the voice of an long time friend and collaborative partner – Dave Grossman. As fate would have it, we find ourselves as neighbours with our work syncing once again. His company will be working together with us to restore ecosystems in the water linking sea cucumbers to floating homes through a neighbourhood watch style setting.
Panama is an electric magnet for people associated with innovation, ingenuity, environmental science and exploration. I wonder who will I link up with next?