Inside the World's Coolest New Co-Working Spaces
The rage for co-working has meant a boom in office hives like The Yard and WeWork — and a rise in indie spaces upping the ante on design, food and fringes. Free snacks? So last month. The coolest new co-working spaces let you work in an architectural landmark, detox with an Xbox, hobnob with indie-rock royalty or munch artisan pastries as you teleconference. Here are four co-working spaces to check out next time you’re on the road.
1. Northspace, Toronto
Location: Downsview Park, a quick subway or Uber ride north from Toronto’s jam-packed — and expensive — downtown core. 21 Kodiak Crescent #200, North York, Ontario.
Why it’s different: Collaboration between tenants was Noam Hazan’s mission when he designed Northspace; more than $300,000 in business has been generated through onsite connections. Bonus: razor-sharp design, free snacks, limitless Tim Horton’s coffee... and an Xbox.
How it works: No contract needed. A day pass runs $20 Canadian dollars (~$15). Hazan plans to open three more Northspaces this year, including one in Montreal.
Why you should go: Northspace’s claim to fame is its Scotch room. Book this $15-a-day meeting space, with its wall sconces of vintage wine boxes, and you’ll enjoy single-malt Scotches on the house.
2. Pourt, New York City
Location: Cooper Square, an ideal spot above Soho, beside the East Village, and just far enough from Midtown. 35 Cooper Square, New York City.
Why it’s different: Founders Matt Tervooren and Mike Kruszewski combined the best of a café and workspace — think fiberoptic internet, ultra-comfortable chairs and personal outlets. Bonus: custom desks, Stickbulb light fixtures, a top-end La Marzocco espresso machine and plenty of local art.
How it works: Pourt’s perfect for commitment-phobes — it’s just $7 per hour for a desk here and an extra $2.99 an hour gets you bottomless coffee or tea. Every sixth hour is free, and a five-seat conference room — with flatscreen TV for teleconferences — will run you $25 an hour. No annual contract, or even monthly membership needed.
Why you should go: Pourt's got possibly some of the best food-and-beverage offerings of any Big Apple co-working space — think Intelligentsia coffee, Colson Patisserie croissants, Tompkins Square bagels and sandwiches like chicken breast and kale on Amy’s Bread.
3. Fosbury & Sons, Antwerp
Location: Ground floor of WATT Tower, a 1958 building by legendary modernist architect Léon Stynen. Mechelsesteenweg 271, Antwerp, Belgium.
Why it’s different: This might be the world’s best-designed co-working space. “We told our architects, Going East, we wanted a space where people just love to come, every single day," said founder Stijn Geeraets. "That atmosphere is accomplished by the color of light, which is warm light, the materializing of the walls with a rough texture, steel windows, warm wood, greenery, high ceilings and big windows.”
How it works: Memberships are tiered and priced fairly: Guest, €15 (~$16) per month, ideal for those who refer to Starbucks as their second home; Nomad, €195 (~$213) for 10 days, so you can pop in anytime; and Resident, €295 (~$322) per month.
Why you should go: Coffeelabs, an Antwerp destination on its own, is housed here. Along with superb espresso drinks and fresh-squeezed juices, its irresistible eat-it-clean plates include lush avocado toast, just-sweet-enough homemade granola and house-made brownies, cherry crumbles and oat-date bars.
4. Meanwhile Space, London
Locations: Walthamstow, a white-hot East End enclave at the end of the Victoria Tube line. 88-90 Hatton Garden, London.
Why it’s different: It’s the newest nonprofit “community interest center” from Meanwhile Space, which rejuvenates idle buildings in partnership with local governments. Below-market rents have attracted an indie A-list of tenants: folk-music label From Here, Depeche Mode sound engineer Jimmy Robertson, filmmaker Orlando Capitanio and GoFundMe’s UK operations.
How it works: Co-working desks go for £230 (about $296) per month. While the founders ask for two weeks notice before a contract ends, co-founder Sean Urquhart also says they're very flexible.
Why you should go: A former city-council building, the 66,000-square-foot space is awe-inspiring — London starchitects Gort Scott have refitted it industrial-style, with all steel frames and exposed pipes. Meanwhile Space fills the huge space with groovy tenants like a cafe/bakery, bespoke Italian cycle shop and a 'pre-loved' women's clothing store. “The interior has the feel of a Berlin post-Bauhaus café,” said Urquhart.
What co-working situations have you tried? Let us know in the comments, below.