Workspace Trends #2 – Incubator Spaces

The demand from start-ups for co-working spaces as well as incubators and accelerators is firmly increasing.  A recent CBRE report found that 40% of companies were using or looking at some form of co-working space.  Companies are driven by a need for a cost-effective space and one that can flex with their developing needs.

Co-working spaces have to deliver on an unusual range of functional needs from companies who come in to the work there. There is a privacy need – companies need their own space and often will want to be able to protect their ideas from prying eyes.  But most feature strongly on collaborative and interactive spaces.  These meet a strong benefit in co-locating through being able to share ideas, experiences and to network.

Central Working's space in Bloomsbury

Central Working’s space in Bloomsbury

Many incubators also feature town hall-style spaces where groups of companies can come together for events, presentations by mentors, etc.  Others provide prototyping & lab spaces where companies can build stuff and/or can test it with their users.

Given that generally companies don’t stay long in these spaces – short leases or even PAYG by the day – there is a strong need for a plug and play space.  Quick arrangement of furniture, easy access to IT infrastructure, etc are all key needs.  So there is a clear challenge to designers to meet the functional needs with flexibility and easy of use.

What unites many of these co-working spaces is a strong sense of community, culture and brand.  Many feature social spaces to encourage this.  The interior of all co-working spaces has to deliver a strong message on brand and has to be somewhere the companies want to be and want to bring their customers.

TechHub's London workspace

TechHub’s London workspace

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David Watts

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