Reports from Thames Tap contacts in Australia and New Zealand offered an international view on the Covid crisis. Now, Kevin Lancaster, managing director of Thames Tap partner Mobius, offers a view from Sweden, possibly the most fascinating of all countries when it comes to its Covid response.

Sweden’s approach to Covid-19 surprised many across the globe – they were one of the only countries that did not enforce a lockdown on their residents – rather they relied on people’s commonsense, asking them to socially distance from others voluntarily since the start of the pandemic – which included working from home where possible and avoiding public transport.

Sweden’s Covid strategy recommended that the elderly and vulnerable shield themselves. However schools for under 16s stayed open as did restaurants and bars.

It was an almost ‘business as usual’ approach that shocked us here in the UK as we all took to our homes baking banana bread and queueing for toilet roll.

At first it seemed that their strategy had been a mistake with many quick to judge – the virus quickly spread through Stockholm and care homes for the elderly were badly hit.

By the end of April, the number of deaths per capita were higher than neighbouring Denmark and Norway – who imposed strict lockdowns. The New York Times even branded them as ‘the world’s cautionary tale’.

But Sweden stuck to its guns and although there was a rise in June, by the time July and August came around the case numbers had dwindled and are now lower than the UK, Denmark and Norway.

For us here at Mobius, Sweden’s somewhat relaxed approach meant that we could continue with ‘business as usual’. Projects that had started in Sweden before lockdown were able to continue with only a little disruption.

Mobius are a design and fit-out company which, from the beginning, has strived to stand out through the power of architectural visualisation, utilising a blend of 3D and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

Throughout lockdown we continued to work on a £1.5 million design, build and furnish project in Linkoping, Sweden for a client based in the US. These 22,000 sq ft offices were designed by our UK based team using our Revit BIM workflow.

Because of travel restrictions all project meetings have been taking place virtually using the textured 3D model of the building. We routinely hold immersive calls with stakeholders from the US, UK, Holland and Sweden where we move around the building in VR making any necessary changes in real time.

We can show our customers and their key stakeholders exactly what their building can look like before it is even built. Using detailed visuals, 360-degree panoramic renders, cinematic walkthrough videos and real-time design in the 3D model, our technology allows key stakeholder engagement at every level and from anywhere in the world.

Once the project is complete, we will host the detailed, 3D, data-rich digital model of our client’s office in Sweden. If required, it will contain all operations and maintenance information, enabling remote decision making from anywhere, on any device at any time.

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