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Has COVID killed off the WeWork ‘cookie cutter’ approach to designing coworking spaces?

Spacemade creates neighbourhood coworking spaces that reflect their surroundings and the people that use them – working with local designers to design uniqe, hyperlocal workspaces that they believe will thrive post-COVID.

25/03/2022 3 min read
Neighbourhood Works

Spacemade is a first-of-its-kind operational partner for landlords looking to provide a bespoke flexible workspace offer directly to their customers. It works with building owners to design new flexible workspaces, each with their own dedicated brand, operated by Spacemade’s team and infrastructure. Launching at the end of 2019, the business was founded by Jonny Rosenblatt and Dan Silverman and now has over 100,000 sq ft of flexible office space under operation across the UK.

Rosenblatt has been at the forefront of the shift towards flexibility in the office market, having founded Headspace Group in 2012 – growing the product and brand into an industry recognised market leader before successfully exiting in 2017.

“With COVID, hybrid-working has become the mainstream for so many companies and employees. It is no longer enough to work in homogenous, corporate office space – instead, people want to have variety and choice in where they work,” Rosenblatt tells Mix. “We noticed the differences in what the market and local communities need, and we believe that coworking spaces should reflect this. Personalised spaces, which consider the needs of individuals, their businesses and brand identities, have become more important than ever.”

Spacemade’s current network of spaces includes a vibrant, community-centric workspace in the heart of London Fields, a boutique collection of private offices on The Strand designed for the legal and professional services sectors, the luxury repositioning and expansion of a prime building in the heart of Leeds city centre and an aspirational neighbourhood workspace in Queen’s Park.

Designed by East London studio Whitepaper, Neighbourhood Works in London Fields has a distinct bohemian feel, with 70s rugs, retro fringed lamps and velveteen armchairs. Its eclectic mix of colours and textures nods to the area’s quirky reputation – full of vintage stores and artisan shops – as well as the vibrant street markets it has been known for since the 20th Century.

Mountains of potted plants tie the interiors to London Fields’ famous park just round the corner, and artwork includes a bespoke mural by an East London artist and prints from local creatives.

At Park House in Leeds, Spacemade has converted an impressive period building into a coworking space with a strong focus on the grandeur of the building’s former history. Designed by Manchester-based studio AXI, the site sits on an 18th century garden square, with the surrounding Georgian terraces reflected in the space’s rich colours and materials of emerald greens and antiquated brass.

Two further London suburb spaces in Wimbledon and Cricklewood will be opening in early 2022, and Spacemade are on course to double in size in 2022 and then again 2023.

“Wimbledon and Cricklewood are both very different in design – again, reflecting the areas they are in and the end-user requirements,” says Rosenblatt. “The style of ‘Common Ground’ in Wimbledon Village will be quite polished and aspirational and lends itself to the nearby local market. Our Cricklewood space, ‘The Backyard Co’ is completely different – Cricklewood in North London is in the process of regeneration, an up-and-coming area, and the building is a voluminous, characterful converted warehouse. The design will reflect these features and will be edgier and more industrial.

“We want people to connect with our spaces. We don’t want our members to feel like their own brand is secondary to ours. We see each building as a blank canvas, from which we build a brand and product that reflects its local area and appeals directly to its specific target market. Rather than looking for a building to suit our brand, we look at the building first and build a product that will resonate with the market. Spaces like Neighbourhood Works  or The Clement Rooms reflect their locations and different users really positively. This is a completely different concept to WeWork.”

 

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