What Makes Coworking Spaces Work in Europe?

Apr 07, 2016, 03:05 ET from Hawkins\Brown

LONDON, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Each year, Hawkins\Brown invites each member of our staff to go on a research trip, themed to a sector or service we offer. In 2015 one group visited Leipzig and Berlin to look at the latest trends in coworking spaces, here's what their research revealed:

You still need privacy when you cowork 

Coworking spaces are all about sharing, socialising and cross-fertilization, values that are expressed in the physical features of the workspace, such as big kitchen tables or stages for staff presentations.

At the same time, many coworkers still value privacy. According to a research conducted by Herman Miller, the office furniture company, the best way of coworking is to first work quietly and independently before discussing your ideas with others. The Flexible sub-division of space into small alcoves or work stations is therefore key.

Playing is the New Working 

The new generation of coworkers like to work hard and play hard, so games and fun are definitely on the menu for coworking spaces. They can act as a forum for meeting new people, or a marketing tool to showcase the philosophy behind the new creative class.

"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!"

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee 

Good coffee is the quintessential coworkers' brew: they even call their industry the 'flat white' economy! A more generous fit-out to include a self-service kitchen equipped with suitable coffee making machines is ideal. Some coworking spaces have even outsourced their coffee to professional baristas to pamper their staff.

Featuring the Power Cables 

The exposed ceiling is the new norm for coworking space fit-outs, and with it comes exposed mechanical and electrical (M&E) services. Instead of hiding the pendant light fittings and extension cords, making a feature of them can be a good idea! Of course, this requires a close working relationship with your M&E consultants. Please make sure they write 'to architect's design' in their spec!

Outdoor is as Important as Indoor 

Outdoor green space can almost be treated as office net internal area (NIA) these days if it is not raining! Coworkers would rather have their jumpers on and have a meeting outdoors in natural daylight. Outdoor spaces should also offer wellbeing activities: gym, running track, bee keeping, kitchen garden, pop up coffee shop, garlic farm on the roof terrace. You name it, they can be there!

Did you also Know? 

Many of the coworking spaces we have visited in the UK, Holland and Germany prioritise the personality of staff, the hospitality of services and a friendly atmosphere over the finish of the internal fit-out, or even the architecture. Some of the owners of the coworking spaces even said that it is the cheerfulness of the receptionists that have the greatest influence on the success of a coworking space. Some coworking spaces also work as a network, helping each other out and organising events together, almost like religious groups. Having said that, high quality interior design and innovative use of space is still attractive in premium coworking offices.

"Personality first, architecture second."

Watch This Space... 

While working on such projects like Here East and Kora, we have visited many coworking spaces in London and Eindhoven. These spaces plus the seven we saw in Berlin and Leipzig have given us much food for thought. The diversity and forward thinking of the coworking industry across Europe has offered us inspiration and confidence to explore more of our innovative ideas. Watch this space…

Notes to editors 

About Hawkins\Brown 

Hawkins\Brown is an established architecture practice based in London and Manchester.

Founded more than 25 years ago by Partners Russell Brown and Roger Hawkins, the firm works across a range of types and scale, bringing a collaborative approach to its projects.

Hawkins\Brown is currently working on a major project to transform London's 2012 Olympic broadcast and media centre into a new digital quarter in east London, as well as three new central London Crossrail stations.

The practice has completed work on a number of significant arts and culture projects around the UK, including the Henry Moore Foundation's site at Perry Green in Hertfordshire, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden, Bucks and the New Art Exchange in Nottingham.

In 2013 Hawkins\Brown was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize for its work on the regeneration of Park Hill in Sheffield.


SOURCE Hawkins\Brown