If you still think that offices are just places where you do your job while sitting behind a screen for hours, that they are filled with small desks and uncomfortable chairs, and occupied exclusively by employees and CEOs, you have not heard of the newest trend: pop-up working!
Image Credits: Am Gronn
We all know the traditional corporate office with its sober colors and decoration, organized around standard working areas, where people spend their day with colleagues from the same company. This office is only accessible to them or to authorized visitors. Eventually, if you’re lucky, a canteen made available onsite. The building itself is usually owned by the company or it is subject to a long-term rental contract, a high deposit and an expensive rent. Outside of office hours, the spaces are quiet and empty.
For many entrepreneurs, this type of office is not accessible as it is a too large an investment for starting businesses whose financial future is often hanging in the balance. Furthermore, it is hard to argue that there is any added value of sitting alone in a small expensive office compared to doing the same work from home at no additional cost.
Luckily, some actors decided to disrupt the sector. They came in with a very different vision, far from the simple idea that an office was only meant to be a place where to work from.
Indeed, they imagined modern, adaptable and attractive coworking spaces open to the outside world where art, horeca and business could meet in one single place. Those lively spaces are built in a way that encourages networking and synergies, giving the feeling of belonging to a real community.
Just imagine premises beautifully arranged where anyone can pop up for a drink with friends, to attend a surprising event, enjoy a tasty meal with clients or rent a cosy meeting room to organize creative workshops. Add to this the fact that you don’t need to commit to any long-term contract and you understand easily why they have everything to attract a large public.
Coworking spaces are revolutionising the commercial real estate sector, pushing the office concept to a new dimension, transforming the ecosystem and the areas where they are located.
If you are ready to change your definition of what an office really is, let’s explore some of them together.
Paladium: pop-up stores and events on demand
When entering the doors of “The Secret Garden”, the latest Paladium coworking space launched in Bertrange, you immediately get this WOW-effect: warm colours, plants hanging from the ceiling and cosy furniture in different corners create a unique and welcoming atmosphere that make any visitor want to stay longer.
Antoine Berghen, the co-founder, and his experienced creative team became masters at adapting the beautiful space to the most surprising demands they received. From organising a flower market to creating a show room for a fashion designer to adapting commercial spaces for business owners. It seems like there is nothing they cannot do.
For the Flower Market that took place in March 2021, the team didn’t hesitate to move all the furniture to create a plant and flower labyrinth, which attracted people that would usually not enter this type of building.
They also proposed a nice solution to Audrey, the founder of “My Little Corner” who did not have any dedicated physical location to sell her clothes. For her, renting a proper shop was still too risky so she contacted Paladium to see how she could test her business model for a month. The team was very reactive and managed to transform a room of Paladium to a nice cosy show room where she could expose all her pieces which even had a dressing room for customers. It worked so well that Audrey decided to stay there for the time being.
“We also do receive unexpected requests for photo shootings or Baby Showers” indicates the Paladium team. “We have people coming from quite different horizon[s]: startup founders, freelancers, entrepreneurs, writers. We even had students taking a few days formula to prepare their exams, or recently a cinema director who only needed an office space few days a month.”
The place seduces and even attracts employees from the whole Bertrange business area, coming for lunch to enjoy the Italian food corner. Managers from well established companies rent rooms for meetings or workshops to make their team benefit from the creative vibes.
“We wanted to propose a less formal and cosier environment to stimulate the creativity and facilitate networking: discussing around a good coffee or a nice meal really facilitates connections between people,” says Antoine. “But we do also offer more formal meeting rooms with screens as it is sometimes still necessary for some type of businesses.”
Meet with artists Am Gronn
Would you expect to see a stage installed in a coworking space and be able to attend a concert for the release of an album? Or imagine the office turned into an art gallery for few days where you could discover signed limited edition Risograph creations and even buy them?
These are only some of the artistic pop-up events proposed by Am Gronn on a regular basis.
Not so surprising when looking at the experience of the two co-founders, Irina Moons, a graphical web designer and Maida Halilovic, an event manager specialized in cultural events, who were both aware of the common issues that artists and freelance had to deal with.
Their vision? Offering a creative space for local and international artists, give them more visibility and allow them to sell their creations directly at Am Gronn Creators shop. Artists feel like they are part of a like-minded community and benefit from an inspiring location.
People passing (local residents as well as tourists) regularly stop buy to discover their new creations: jewelleries, t-shirts with original printings and postcards. There is also a bar where you can taste mostly local drinks and local food which is in line with the values of the founders, as they like to support the local economy through an environmental and sustainable approach. You can even order their nice sandwiches via SMS and pick them up!
If this interests you, check out the pop-up events organised by those creative places and don’t hesitate to walk through their doors. The only risk you will take? To be positively surprised and change for good your definition of traditional office spaces.
In addition to this pop-up working trend, we also observe a city that is turning more and more into pop-city. Many pop-up stores are opening, for a month or more, both to fill empty retail spaces but also to revitalize the city centers and introduce independent brands and concepts or even associations. Is this also a trend to be considered in the long-term or a passing trend while the economy recovers?