ARC Club: minimalist interiors designed to meet post-Covid demand
Offering themselves as a ‘neighbourhood workplace for people who are tired of working from home,’ ARC Club are taking on the big boys of coworking with their smaller urban space in Homerton, London.
With many designers predicting small-format suburban coworking spaces on the horizon as city workers bemoan the impending busy commute into the city, ARC Club and its counterparts are a perfect example of a ‘third space’ offering.
Adapting to meet the demand of many who are finding working from home unsuccessful and even difficult, ARC Club was built over the period of 6 weeks, transforming a featureless 2500 sq ft retail unit into a beautiful, functional and bright remote working hub. The space occupies a typically residential location, allowing people to ‘work near home’ (WNH). Future ARC Clubs will, like Homerton, occupy vacant commercial space, bringing much-needed energy and purpose to the high street.
Architect Caro Lundin, who is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of ARC, has overseen every detail of the project – from build through to merchandise. Lundin’s design philosophy of ‘not too much and not too little’ makes for an offering that is both stylish and costs considerably less than your average London desk – there is little place in mainstream post-Covid coworking for excess, Caro mentions.
‘Having worked mostly in retail and hospitality, ARC Club provided me with an opportunity to consider the functional aspects of a space that people appreciate but rarely notice – from electrics to soundproofing to the ergonomics of furniture,’ Caro says. ‘I love colour but the abundance of natural light encouraged me to focus on the innate shades of the materials we used and the way they change over the course of the day.’
ARC has embraced the beauty of durable, low-cost materials such as linoleum, birch ply and the occasional secondhand furniture. Caro retained the assets of the existing shell, including poured concrete floors and exposed services, contrasting with carefully placed colour including orange felt curtains acting as partitions and acoustic aids.
The size and flexibility of the space has allowed Covid-ready measures to be put in place. The space uses a modular pod system, operating on a standard sheet size grid, which is easily replicable.
‘The challenge with ARC Club was to create a scalable solution. Since affordability for the widest possible audience is at the heart of our offering, my approach had to be one that embraced the constraints of the space, while delivering something that was neither commercial nor boring,’ says Caro. ‘Unlike other coworking spaces, we are geared exclusively towards solo workers, which is why I opted for a modular pod system to create a multitude of private spaces.’
The system comprises two soundproof cubes in waxed birch ply, containing meeting rooms, printing, storage and a kitchen, effectively breaking the large open space into four different zones.
‘If I could describe the mood I wanted to achieve with ARC, it would be the comfort of ‘lagom’. A space in which people feel inspired to get stuff done. After all, it’s about the members and not about us.’
Is this what the next generation of coworking spaces look like?
Photography by Andrew Meredith