Jerry Tate, Tate Harmer 


During these difficult moments, Surface Design Show will be doing a series of interviews with

our community to discover how others in the architectural and design world are surviving lockdown.

Our first 'SDS in isolation' interview is with Jerry Tate, founder of Tate Harmer.


Hi Jerry

Thanks for letting us self-isolate with you, keeping in touch with our friends makes us all feel better.

Where is your isolation home right now? 

I am trying to work downstairs, this is a photo of my desk (sorry about the beaten up Eames chair). But with the kids at home I have to retreat to the spare bedroom when making phone and video calls. I have three boys and the noise over the last few weeks has been incredible as they thunder around the house!

How are you coping with this new lifestyle?

The office is running fine which makes me wonder why we need to rent office space really! Being with the kids all day is great but can create interesting situations mid presentation…

Do you have a daily schedule?

The Tate Harmer team all meet for a coffee on MS Teams at 9.30am to check we all know what we are doing, and for a cup of tea at 5pm for a natter. In between we are getting work done and having what seems to be an incredible number of MS Teams meetings with clients and consultants. With no travel between meetings I don’t think we have ever been so efficient although, as I cycle everywhere I think I am beginning to put on weight.

What tends to be the highlight of your day?

I must admit I really enjoy breakfast and dinner with the children, in normal times I travel around a lot and sometimes miss those special moments.

What are you missing most? And what don’t you miss at all?

Whilst MS Teams is good it does not completely replace banter in the office which can be great fun. I also do enjoy travelling and meeting new people which has been slightly curtailed now. Maybe I don’t miss the super-early starts to get a train to site!

Are there some long neglected jobs that you intend to get around to doing during the lockdown?

To be honest we are still working full pelt! I have at least three articles I am hoping to write on sustainability, nature and wellbeing. I thought with the lockdown I might get a clear run at them, but it has not happened yet.

How do you think our sector will manage these difficult times?

The architecture and building industry is full of problem solvers so I am sure we will get round the difficulties to keep things moving as best we can.

You put up a robust performance at Surface Design Show's PechaKucha Evening in February...did you enjoy the format?

Yes, I particularly like the pace and the variety of viewpoints, it makes for a fascinating evening. Thank you for putting it on!

Which projects being worked on by Tate Harmer particularly excite you?

This is hot off the press but we have just been (re)appointed with Purcell to do Phase 2 of the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe which is one of my favourite projects. A wonderful mix of heritage, urban design, landscape and community.

What will have changed in the architecture sector when normal service resumes?

I think we will all be convinced that remote working is easier than we thought! We have been having some interesting conversations with hotel clients about social distancing and design implications and I am sure this is something that will percolate through all sectors. For example I think in residential design, home working, connection to landscape and the ability to grow your own food might become more important.


Thanks Jerry for letting us self-isolate with you!