Executive suites or what is now coworking space, can be seen to have really taken off when Regus came along in 1989 . They’ve worked well both for traveling business people who either aren’t staying in a place with a business center and for small businesses, especially professionals, who want maximum flexibility which comes with short term leases and low rent.
They’re also seen as very “corporate” which works well with some businesses , but less well with creative types. Enter coworking spaces which started in the West Coast, in Silicon Valley (called “incubators”), and are now spreading and really coming into their own. The West Coast was also a breeding ground for a new kind of office – office as campus which lends itself to social interaction, such as ones from Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
On the private front, the sequel to Regus were incubator type formats with not only private offices, but dedicated desks for rent, and for even less money, a flexible desk which is a space at a long communal table.
And now, uber designer David Rockwell has come up with a work collective membership model as glamorous work space called NeueHouse, pictured here, described in this month’s Departures magazine (and another interesting article on the topic in CNN Money). The 50,000 square foot New York building is a combination coworking space, members club and cultural center. As Tracey Ryans, a luxury marketing strategist described it, “they took the best of what Ian Schrager did with hotels, what Nick Jones did with restaurants and bars and what the kids in San Francisco did with the shared work space and combined them.”
The ground floor has what Rockwell calls “Spanish Steps”, plywood stairs with kilim pillows that serves as a meeting and work area during the day and at night is the setting for lectures and presentations. Recent cultural events include a lecture by designer Paul Smith and a conversation between a string theorist and a steel drum player. NeueHouse also has access for members to resources like a 1Gbps internet connection, video editing suite and 60 seat screening room. Sounds to me like a model for expansion.
And for those in the hotel industry, this might be a new offering for a hotel loyalty program with a membership based business center? What do you think?