Caron Field Trip: Co-working Spaces
Last week we went to check out three co-working spaces in Seattle. We have heard so much about WeWork so we visited two of their locations - Holyoke Building and Denny Triangle. We were also curious about other independently-owned co-working brands and decided to check out The Pioneer Collective in the Pioneer Square neighborhood.
WeWork did not disappoint. Our first thought when we stepped into both locations was ‘We want to work here!’ The place projected an energetic and welcoming vibe. In addition to the shared community space and office area, there are conference rooms of various sizes, private phone booths, seating nooks, and a kitchen. A ping-pong table and pool table also make their appearance. Accent colors, patterns, murals by local artists, and wallpapers help create a fun atmosphere. Company logo decals and personalization of offices done by tenants enliven the office area. Interesting design touches and attention to details can be seen throughout.
After touring both WeWork locations and doing additional research online, we can see that there are certain planning and design elements that are shared among their facilities, e.g. the office area layout/space division, and its material palette consisting of wood floor, wood desks, floor to ceiling glazing with dark-color mullions, exposed ceiling and pendant lamps. Natural light is key here. Glass partitions allow light into every office while frosted glass at the lower portion provides privacy between offices.
The building in which the co-working space is housed contributes to its success. From our research, WeWork chooses corner buildings so light can come in from at least two sides. They also love buildings with good backstories, which explains why they chose The Holyoke Building, a historic building that was the first building completed and ready for occupancy in downtown Seattle following the Great Seattle fire. The neighborhood also plays an important role, as does the building amenities. WeWork Denny Triangle occupies two floors of the Hill7 building. One of the floors has access to the roof deck which provides a serene, landscaped space should any of its members need a break from working inside.
The Pioneer Collective
The Pioneer Collective (tPC) has a different atmosphere. It seems cozier and more personal, which is not surprising given it was founded by an interior designer who initially just wanted a nice space for her studio. Exposed brick walls, wood finishes and furniture, as well as white color make up its color palette. With the building’s corner location, natural light shines in from both sides. The shared community-desks area can be transformed into an event space or a stage for a show, concert, film screening, photo shoot and video production. Other than shared community desks, tPC also offers private desks and offices. We were told that they were at almost zero vacancy for private desks and offices, and we can see why. Here, the goal is not only to provide a charming co-working space but also to foster a sense of community where members are supported.
The visits to these co-working spaces were inspiring. We are looking forward to contributing to workplace design that makes a work day productive, inspirational, and enjoyable.