Prague’s Maximilian Hotel reopens following redesign by Conran and Partners
One of Prague’s most established boutique hotels, Maximilian, has reopened after a refurbishment programme by Conran and Partners.
It is all too easy to get carried away with the juggernaut that is coworking. Although coworking will continue to grab a lot of the headlines, we should forget these alt-multi-occupancy office providers at our peril. We’ve talked to Kayla-Joleen Doris, Marketing Executive at Runway East, a leading ‘MOOP’, about their flex offering.
What does coworking mean to you?
Coworking to us is more than just shared workspace, with members working side-by-side, but not actively engaging with each other. Coworking here is someone joining us as a freelancer and then ending up as cofounder for another member’s app, or one member investing in another member’s company. These things happen at RWE! It’s actively engaging with each other’s ideas and working together towards a shared mission, and it’s also about curating a genuine community – not everyone can join Runway East.
From when you started, has your client profile changed?
We only offered coworking options when we first started, but before too long we noticed that most of our customers were only leaving us because they wanted a private office! So now we offer space for teams from 1-100, in open plan or private options. Targeting private office memberships meant that our members have moved from purely start-ups to being ‘scale-ups’ as well.
It’s great that the market is widening and blue chip companies are coming into other spaces. It’s healthy for all coworking companies that the market is growing so much
How has coworking shifting from incubated work environments for start-ups to flex space for established companies influenced your offering?
This hasn’t directly influenced our offering as we are specifically for high-growth tech start-ups. We’re a start-up ourselves and that’s what we’re passionate about. All of our offerings are tailored towards helping start-ups grow, from our events to our monthly Investor Digest and our ‘Startup Toolkit’ that we share with all our members. Our curated community is the added value of having a membership at Runway East, which is why so many genuine connections are made. However, it’s great that the market is widening and blue chip companies are coming into other spaces. It’s healthy for all coworking companies that the market is growing so much.
Currently, how many locations do you operate in?
We currently have four locations – three in London, within Soho, Moorgate and London Bridge, and one in Bristol.
As somewhere where start-ups ‘take off’, we have a slight aviation theme running throughout all our spaces
Which trends influenced the design of your space?
As somewhere where start-ups ‘take off’, we have a slight aviation theme running throughout all our spaces. But fundamentally we design our spaces with our members front of mind – they need to be seamless to use, enjoyable to be in, and occasionally delightful, with small details you would only notice over time, like our meeting room signs, which are homages to famous pilots. The sort of place you could be in for 12 hours, which sometimes our members need to do!
Describe the different area designations in your workplace and how you managed to satisfy the design needs for all of them.
The different areas of our workspaces have been designed with our members’ needs in mind. Not everyone works best sitting at a desk all day, so we have lots of breakout areas and social designations. Our London Bridge building has two large social areas – our rooftop, which has an amazing view of south London, and Ground Control, which has a café, foosball table, books, etc. They’re open spaces that encourage interaction, whereas our breakout areas have been designed with our members’ need for periods of isolation – whether that’s to make a quick call, have some quiet time, or get an important piece of work done. Our phone pods are comfy but secluded spaces that are perfect for private convos, while our breakout areas vary in design to suit a multitude of purposes. You could find a cosy sofa for a wellbeing break, a private seated area to brainstorm your best ideas or a meeting booth for you and a teammate to collaborate.
Given the accessibility we have to the internet from home, would it be extreme to say that office spaces will soon become completely redundant?
I think it is extreme to say completely redundant – we’ve had accessible internet for decades and that hasn’t shown any impact on office space, but has just changed how we do it. You could argue that the accessibility has played a part in the rise of coworking spaces – freelancers and small businesses were suddenly able to work from wherever they wanted, but they still wanted a working environment, just with a different way of doing it. Working from home or from coffee shops isn’t as productive, efficient or collaborative. It’s hard to scale and build a team without a proper working environment. Human interaction is needed for us to thrive – and that is unlikely to change.
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