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.
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.