Call for professionals: experts sought for a fundamental and long-term reconsideration of business design

July 23, 2020

Deadline: August 17, 2020

Mandated by the Bureau du design, Architecture sans frontières Québec (ASFQ) is issuing a call for professionals aimed at engaging and recruiting professionals from various design and architectural disciplines who specialize in business layout. This panel of experts will be tasked with developing guidelines for an in-depth reconsideration of how commercial spaces are organized and laid out in response to the prospect of a long-term adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic. This call will also identify contributors who wish to share their ideas on the matter in forms other than formal participation on the panel.

Background and objectives

This call is part of an applied research project in multidisciplinary design called COVIDesign, which includes the cration of an adaptation guide for businesses and designers, along with examples of model businesses to practically illustrate the principles and their application. The purpose of these tools is to guide the design of new commercial spaces and the reorganization of existing spaces, using new development standards created in response to the pandemic, in order to both minimize the risk of spreading the virus and also provide the best possible shopping and/or consumption experience.

The research project will focus in particular on the areas of food services, restaurants, and retail sales in an effort to cover a broad range of business types that must cope with the current pandemic or any other similar threat that might arise. These tools will be especially useful to those seeking a transition to business models that both reduce the risks of closure or partial closure and also foster forward-thinking and resilient commercial development. Once released, the new development guide and models will serve as reference tools that will have a positive impact on public health; they will also act as a position statement by Montréal and the design community with respect to sustainably re-launching the economy.

Montréal and ASFQ thus seek to pool the expertise of a range of professionals working in all design fields who wish to share their vision, knowledge, and skills in commercial interior design, architecture, presentation design, industrial design, graphic design and signage, service design (including ecommerce), and urban design. Other stakeholders concerned with long-term health adaptations for business (specialists in health issues, consumer behaviour, etc.) will also be consulted and invited to express their interest as part of this call.

Mandate of panel

  • Study and analyze spatial and health issues (current and future).
  • Study the literature and existing examples of design adaptations to the pandemic.
  • Hold meetings with various sector advisors to learn about scientific issues and contexts.
  • Hold a dozen brainstorming sessions with other interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral professions to share visions.
  • Assess temporary and permanent solutions implemented during the current pandemic with a view to more long-term answers.
  • Issue recommendations for innovative solutions that can be part of a long-term vision for adapting to pandemics.

Conducted as an integrated design process, the work will start in late August and continue for 3 to 4 months, at the end of which all proposals from experts and partners alike will be used to create the development guide and models. The panel’s working procedure will be discussed during the first meeting in order to create a consensus on how to proceed. That said, panel members should expect to dedicate about 100 hours to the project between August and December 2020. Meetings will primarily be held virtually but, in the case of in-person meetings, will strictly follow public health guidelines.


All contributors to the project will be named in the guide and in promotional material. Financial compensation will be awarded to panel experts based on their sustained participation. Compensation details will be communicated to those selected for the panel.

How to express an interest

If you wish to sit on the panel of experts, please fill out the online form and enclose it with a letter of interest clearly expressing your motivations for taking part in the project and for sharing your expertise, knowledge, and vision of business during the pandemic. The letter should also provide an overview of your academic and/or professional background and outline your experience and expertise related to the issue at hand, your contributions to the field that you believe to be relevant, and details concerning your availability. Please note that meetings will be held in French and letters of interest must be submitted in this language as well.

We will follow up with everyone who has expressed interest. The panel will consist of no more than 6 to 8 people and will be selected by a committee of ASFQ and Bureau du design representatives based on the letters provided and on diversity and parity criteria.  


If you wish to apply for membership on the panel, or if you would like to work on the project in another way by sharing your ideas and vision with the panel, please fill out the online form (in French) before August 17, 2020.