Even though the world has turned upside down, the changes brought about by the coronavirus rather further energized them. The same as before, Nóra Demeczky and Enikő Déri, the members of DE_FORM studio now operating as a creative agency, keep helping and inspiring each other, and are more courageous and determined than ever before. The designers talk openly about how they and their business survived the vicissitudes of the pandemic.
It’s now been more than a year that we are forced to live together with the changes caused by the pandemic. How has the coronavirus affected your business?
As we have mentioned in our previous interview, it was partially the virus that has shifted our operation into a whole new direction. After spending several years working as entrepreneurs, being just the two of us, at the end of last year we founded our own company and expanded our team with more members. We felt that this unstable situation was not likely to go away from one day to the next, and as we had goals and plans, we started implementing them in spite of the epidemic.
The new setup also comes with a lot of extra tasks that were unknown to us before, and sometimes the situation already faces us with new challenges in itself. On top of it all, there are times when all of us are forced to work from home for longer periods due to the virus, which requires a completely different work method compared to when everyone can be present in the office. We are now getting used to these continuous changes—we must be very flexible while we are also trying to set up some sort of a permanent system for our agency. It’s a fascinating experience to build something in such a fluid world.
What challenges us the most is that human relationships are extremely limited. We can’t just go out and grab lunch together or hold a bigger meeting with several participants without our masks on. The majority of meetings are held in the online environment, and these are, let’s admit it, often completely different than meeting in person. These are the things that we miss the most.
The coronavirus faced most businesses with financial challenges, too. We had a long period, especially during the first wave of the epidemic, when all of a sudden everyone disappeared, everything was shut down, and the possibilities were returning really slowly. The epidemic made and keeps making our work even harder because we work on a lot of exhibitions, events and periodic projects, and the pandemic has put this sector in a quite unpredictable situation. Luckily, we see that things are now starting to get back on track, because everyone is trying to work things out differently compared to the ways they did before: they are now finding new ways and adapting.
If you’ve learned something from the pandemic, what was it?
One of the most important things is that one has to be “amphibious”. Circumstances, rules and situations keep changing around us, but this can’t stop us. We have goals and ideas in mind, and these are pushing us forward. We’d love to work on as many exciting projects as possible both in Hungary and on an international scale. We try not to get startled by the changes, but rather to look at them as opportunities. We don’t always succeed, but we do our best.
We also learnt that paying attention to each other is even more important than ever. It is indispensable that the team is not only okay physically but also mentally, and that if there are hardships we overcome them together. It is sometimes difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel in relation to the virus, but we hope this situation will soon change for the better in the world. Perhaps we can return to a more direct, humane and free way of living. Until then, we are forever thankful to healthcare workers—it is superhuman what they have to do every single day.
Portrait & team photos: Laci Kőhegyi