Either in discussions of the gig economy, creative startups, or questionable IPOs, coworking spaces and companies have been near top of mind in 2019. It’s certainly been the case for us at Surface—these shared working environments offer wonderful opportunities for design, after all. With the category still finding its footing and individual companies looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors, it’s been a heady time for tracking that aspect of the wider coworking story.
Certainly, that’s something reflected by the finalists for the 2019 Surface Travel Award for Best Coworking Space listed below: each of them is daring, sharp, and quite different from the others, suggesting new possibilities for the future of work. Only one, however, can be the best. To find out which, stay tuned for the announcement coming out of the Surface Travel Awards ceremony in mid October. For now, take a look at the nominees.
This Windy City outpost of Audrey Gelman and company’s ever-expanding empire of women-first workspaces transplants the group’s by now signature aesthetics into Chicago’s historic Fulton Market. Taking advantage of the setting—and of the expansive space—this first solo effort by the Wing’s in-house design team features nods to Midwest motifs: archways and hexagon tiling reference Midwestern son Frank Lloyd Wright, wallpaper with illustrations of Chicago-style hot dogs, and objects sourced from local outfits like London Walder. Even the generous cafe space, The Perch, is without a false note. The-wing.com.
Spring Place Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
The team at wHY Architecture have imbued this massive addition to Spring Place’s holdings with a true sense of import, and authority that suggests a single business instead of a coworking site—appropriate given that it’s intended as a center for Hollywood wheeling and dealing. (On any given day you might see a supermodel flitting about the central atrium or up its statement piece sculptural wooden staircase.) This elite feel extends to restaurant whose food and wHy–designed velvet furniture would be enough to recommend it even it were not tucked inside this power sleekly rendered power station. Springplace.com.
Beauty Shoppe Cleveland, Cleveland
As The Wing, the Beauty Shoppe in-house studio has put character first through very eclectic, very personal design touches all around this ground-floor, 12,000-square-foot coworking site in Cleveland’s landmark Seymour Building. The vibe here, though, is even more approachable: unassuming nooks and crannies feature Pre-war-style fixtures and appointments against whitewashed walls and thick, darkly colored moldings while the airy cafe offers ample seating on birch-colored custom banquets and jewel-toned textiles. Though it certainly has an industrious feel, it’s also remarkably unassuming and human—a result of careful, quiet, and intelligent engineering. Beautyshoppe.co.
Fosbury & Sons Boitsfort, Brussels
So much is remarkable about this location of Fosbury & Sons’ European-based network of spaces. Most notably, Going East has met the rare and inspiring materiality of Constantin Brodzki’s elegantly Brutalist 1970s office building with a mix of new and era-appropriate furnishings, fixtures, and appointments that benefit from a wholly modern, and very natural, use of tone and color. Breuer cane chairs welcome workers along the warm woods of the custom-built communal desks, while grander conference rooms and bar spaces suggest a collision of ’60s utopian ideals and quite contemporary international hospitality. Though striking and impressive, it’s also soothing and sublime. Fosburyandsons.com.
CANOPY Jackson Square, San Francisco
Executed by the power trio of Yves Behar, Amir Mortazavi, and Steve Mohebi, this response to its neighborhood and site is very much a survey of what is new and breaking in interior design. Spaces are sharp and mathematical with appointments that breathe color and humor into the massive concrete shell. Pinks and emeralds add winks to gray-toned spaces, while wood slatting of various colors break up the concrete ceilings, creating the impression of various environments more intimate than the tank-like structure would be otherwise. With such an expansive mix of materials, forms, and influences, it reflects the collision of people and ideas coworking represents. Canopy.space.
See the full list of Surface Travel Awards finalists here.