Headspace

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It’s been a good few years since we last met with the Headspace team – back in London’s Farringdon. It was always going to be more than likely that our paths would cross again. Just take a look at our Spotlight in this very issue (and indeed look at pretty much any issue of Mix) and you’ll get a sense of how ‘hot’ co-working is right now.

You can’t, however, simply decide to enter the world of co-working and expect instant success – far from it. What was clear to us, right from the start, was that the Headspace model was spot on for this then emerging, but still growing, sector.

Founded by Jonathan Rosenblatt, the Group has now made its first foray outside the capital, with a new facility in Manchester. At the heart of it, of course, is the Headspace philosophy that states…’We’re here to take on the headaches of running an office, so you can focus on what really matters – your business.

Headspace exists to serve your ideas. What fuels the team at Headspace is the belief that workspaces should look good and feel good.’

Headspace’s brand new 15,000 sq ft site is a focal point for Manchester’s amazing tech and creative community. The interior design is fun, clean and modern and comprises a mix of uniquely designed private offices and co-working spaces, all equipped to a high specification.

Based at 2 Mount Street, the building is part of the unique 100,000 sq ft cluster of buildings that make up ‘The Albert Estate’, a community of dynamic businesses based around Manchester’s Albert Square.

We enter the new Headspace facility and are met by Head of Marketing and Client Experience, Jonathan Hausmann, who is more than happy to provide us with a brew and tell us more about this move to the thriving North. ‘We launched back in February – and we only have a few offices left,’ Jonathan smiles. ‘It’s filled up really quickly. We also have quite a lot of co-working members here. I’m amazed at how many people no longer work 9-5. In fact, I think I might be the only person here who does work anything like 9-5! We have a lot of members who work elsewhere a lot of the time or are out for meetings – and then come to us when they need that ‘headspace’.

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‘A lot of them are field based, so will come in and hold their meetings here. It’s a great site – we are right in the heart of the city here and it’s been amazing working opposite the Town Hall. We’ve seen parades and festivals there – and if there is something going on there we feel as though we are right in the middle of it.

‘We encourage our members to work how they want to work here and to use the space so that it fits their businesses. We are super-flexible. We try to never say no to anything – we will always look at how we can make anything they need happen.

‘This is what I like most about Headspace. We get members who start-up on their own and within three months they have already grown out of their space and have to move up to the next size of space. It’s really rewarding to be watching businesses grow and flourish in your building! We have some amazing people in here.

‘The majority of our members are creative people – tech start-ups, for example – but not everybody. We also have some established businesses, who have a base in London, for example, and use this as their satellite office.

‘One of the great things about our business model is that, once you are a Headspace member, you can walk into any of our offices and we will look after you. Our job is to take all the worry away from our members. They’re busy changing the world!

‘It is very much in our own interests to see our members thriving – and if we can take away the worries of things such as postage, printing, scanning…we’ll even help host events for our clients or bring a hairdresser in. It’s always nice to feel as though you are being looked after.’

Jonathan tells us that one of the greatest considerations here was, of course, the technology, which allows members to work pretty much anywhere in the building, as well as offering the advanced AV facilities modern businesses need. That, together with great coffee, was vital to the success of the facility – and we can certainly confirm that the coffee is very good indeed!

Headspace once again collaborated with Renata Sa, Creative Director at SA Design, for the interior design – Renata having previously worked on the Farringdon space.

The feel is bright, welcoming and modern, with nice homely touches throughout the community spaces, which are at the heart of each floor. The office and meeting spaces that flow off the hubs are essentially a blank canvas – largely monochrome, smart and functional.

There is a fantastic nod to the city throughout Headspace Manchester. ‘We have also worked with some local artists, who have produced some amazing artwork for us – which tie into the music scene here in Manchester, such as the Peter Saville portrait in the reception area. Not everyone knows who Peter Saville is, so I tell them to go and watch the 24 Hour Party People movie! We’ve also subtly integrated the colours of Factory 51 – the Haçienda – into the scheme on this floor.

‘Renata has also introduced lyrics from Manchester bands onto the walls on each floor,’ Jonathan explains. ‘So this is the Haçienda floor, then we have Joy Division on the second floor – we even have a Transmission meeting room – then we have The Smiths on the third floor, then we have the Stone Roses on the fourth floor and we also have a mezzanine at the top of the building, where we have a studio, and that is called the Oasis. We have two meeting rooms there and one of them is called Shakermaker and the other is called Supernova.

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‘It turns out that Jonathan (Rosenblatt) is a bit of an Oasis fan – so that really sealed the deal. It’s really good fun but it’s also been done really subtly. We didn’t want the Manchester music theme to be right in our members’ faces. Like I said, a lot of people wouldn’t know who a lot of the artwork’s subjects represent.’

The space incorporates a mix of uniquely designed private offices and co-working spaces perfectly, together with the aforementioned range of brilliantly themed meeting rooms, private work booths, refreshment bars and shower rooms, as well as a 60-person event space with stunning views overlooking the Town Hall.

As Jonathan explained, the community is managed by the dedicated on-site team – who also help curate a range of community events, ranging from panel discussions and workshops through to yoga classes.

We’ve seen the continued rise of co-working facilities in London for a while now – not least with our previous visit to Headspace in Farringdon – and Manchester, with its thriving tech and creative community, was always going to embrace this smart, flexible working model.

Maybe it’s because we’re still big Indie kids at heart, but this space really does feel like a bit of us.