REQ: more “BEING SPACES” in Brussels15 Mar 2006
Anyone who often works at home is probably familiar with this: sometimes you would like to work somewhere else to finish something undisturbed, to see some people while you work instead of just the PC and the refrigerator, to have a meeting in a pleasant location, to be in another environment. I often do some work at the Recyclart or the AB Café, and almost always I’m the only nomadic worker there. Both places are cosy and have free Wifi, but they’re not real offices: there is no printer, no meeting room, no water cooler. And since I don’t pay for the accommodation, I feel obliged to order stuff. When I’m hungry, that’s OK, when I’m not, drinking 3 coffees in a row transforms my ADD into ADHD .
I would be glad to pay something between €50 to 100 per month to have a place in Brussels where I can drop by anytime, get some work done (wifi, printer, fax, meeting room, beamer) and maybe have some stimulating conversation with other people present. So when I read about “BEING SPACES”, it really struck home:
(…) urban dwellers are trading their lonely, cramped living rooms for the real-life buzz of BEING SPACES: commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren’t just the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin.
When I look at some providers of flexible office space in Brussels:
- Quartier Latin: €50/m²/month
- Regus Rue des Colonies: €50/day for a meeting room
- Brussels enterprise centers: m Brussels Village, Dansaert: offices between €350 and 500/month
- Alliance, NCI, …: no pricing on the site – but they look really expensive
These places are generally offering too much (e.g. a private office) for a price that is too high. Let’s see how they do it in New York:
Paragraph (“providing an affordable and tranquil working environment for writers of all genres”) occupies a 2,500 square foot loft space near Union Square, divided into a writing room and a lounge area. The writing room has 38 partitioned desks, while the lounge area contains a kitchenette, a large round table and smaller café tables. There’s a refrigerator and cabinets to store members’ food and beverages, as well as a microwave, toaster oven and coffee maker. The space has a laser printer and wifi throughout, and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Members pay between 70 and 110 € per month. That’s exactly the sweet spot. The above initiative, aimed at writers, could be sponsored by a publisher. If it were more general (not only for writers), an ititiative like that in Brussels could be sponsored by vendors like Apple, Microsoft, Ikea, Skynet/Telenet.
Via FactoryJoe I also spotted a more ‘grassroots’ initiative: Brad from CodingInparadise rents out space in his house to self-employed developers and writers:
Members have access to free WiFi; a beautiful garden; support in setting and achieving work goals; a full kitchen and attached coffee shop; a healing space with massage therapists; and more.
We are a non-profit co-op with low, monthly rates. Feel free to drop by the space on Mondays and Tuesdays to try it out for free up to four times. We are limited to five total members, so act quickly!
That’s even nicer: an office environment with a personal touch. No one has an office with excess surface in the Dansaert neighborhood, and feels like filling it with bright, young freelancers (and me, of course)?