Designing our Coworking Space
To mark what is for us a very significant moment in time, I wanted to give you some insight into what went into designing our coworking space; it started long before we got the keys!
There were 4 very significant questions related to design that we needed to answer before we even thought about where our space was going to be:
- What rooms/facilities were important to people and needed to be included?
- What branding / vibe / feel did we want our coworking space to have?
- How big did we need the space to be?
- How could we make our space look great without breaking the bank?
As our focus has always been on customer experience and wanting the space to work for our members, we started with talking to a lot of potential members. We wanted to know what was most important to people and what they needed from a workspace. As an example, although meeting space was always on our 'preferred' list, after so many people mentioned its importance, it soon got upgraded to the 'must have' list. We also came across several people who didn't know what coworking was and given that there is not much coworking about locally this wasn't hugely surprising. That gave us a further challenge to feed into design; to create a workspace that introduces the coworking concept locally. We decided that to fit this brief, we wanted something still resembling a traditional office e.g. decent sized desks and proper office chairs, but with a slightly quirky edge.
In terms of the branding, we knew we wanted to see greens to bring in an outdoor theme as a reflection of the the beauty of the local area and being a space in a more rural location than other spaces. We have been consistent in our colours since the design of our brand and logo (thanks to Alex at Bamb Creative in Eastbourne! www.bambcreative.com) and knew we wanted to bring those colours into the design of the actual space, meaning we would be recognisable as a brand to the many people we'd spoken to in the build-up. We knew we wanted a fairly relaxed feel but still very much professional and conducive to work.
For the size of the space, we needed to work out the number of desks compared to the number of members on our different plans and we also needed to consider how the size of the space would impact on the community feel. We saw a number of other spaces but many didn't have the open plan floor layout which we felt was important.
We were also on a limited budget so it was important that we achieved a high quality look without a huge price tag. As with any budgeting, this was all in the detail and breaking the budget down to allocate to the various aspects of the decor. We had to work out what the most important features were to invest in and which aspects we could do ourselves. We decided that adding a feature colour to the walls would make a real difference and balance the office and quirky style that we're going for with relatively low cost. Having a small budget for artwork really got our creative juices going and we made several of the pieces ourselves which was also a great way to inject some personality. As the ethos of the space is about creating a local working community, it was important that wherever possible we could use local businesses in the creation of the space. For example, most of our furniture came from Transfunk Furniture in Crowborough www.transfunk-furniture.co.uk who specialise in second hand furniture restoration which is both cheaper, environmentally friendly and more beautiful than buying new (in my opinion!) We thought of a couple of unique and interesting features i.e. our mug wall and chalkboard wall which would stick in people's minds and help us stand out while staying true to our brand.
Overall we are thrilled with how our coworking space came out and it looked even better when it was filled up with people at our open event!
If you're interested in coming to see it or having a free trial day, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org