Select Interiors

Co-Worker Spaces are reinventing office life. Is yours next?



Step inside its world of vintage chairs, froth insulation and zig-zagging walkways. This inventive scheme in Holland Park, London is like an office designer’s LSD trip, with lava lamp tear bubble desks, acid colours and planting like Kew’s greenhouses

The SPACE above was created from an unappealing former carpet factory with an extruded bubble of Orange transparent plastic stretched two mews houses. The interior is brimming with spiky leaves, eclectic furniture and acid colours like a jungle remix for generation X

The concept is that the spaces make going to work fun and never like just another day at the office. The joint founder behind this refreshing scheme Rohan Silva wants people to think ‘What’s that?’ and be drawn inside. The innovative entrepreneur is a provider of “unique workspaces and cultural venues for entrepreneurs and innovators”. The company opened its first space in Spitalfields, east London, in 2014 and now hosts users as diverse as Volkswagen, KPMG as well as small start-ups

Second Home has raised £40m from investors, opened a bookshop across the street, launched a second branch in Lisbon and has several more in the pipeline including a spectacular complex of amoebic studio pavilions set in a tropical garden in Los Angeles.

Image of CoWorker space in Leeds with separate meeting rooms  designed and fitted out by Select Interiors Ltd for Allied London and Caffeine & Co

While the average UK office provides around 10 sq. Metres of space per person, at Second Home the figure is about half that – including the communal areas. The space is cramped, and the angled walls and curving desks are designed to accommodate more people which you would assume be counter-productive. However, the evidence from Spitalfields is counterintuitive, the compact space has proven to be good for working and certainly for meeting like-minded individuals.  The cross-pollination is what’s special about the concept of Coworking, the mix of companies is carefully controlled so that tech companies don’t dominate. The businesses essential for start-ups, like lawyers, accountants and investors, make up 20%, while 15% are charities and non-profits. The space houses businesses as diverse as Help Refugees, Ernst & Young, Task Rabbit, and a charity working for women in Africa.

Innovations like opening a creche,  biophilic planting, regular seminars and group activities e.g – embroidery, nutrition, and talks on the future of blockchain and “the science of mindfulness” has helped create a dynamic business community. According to their own survey, 75% of their tenants have collaborated with other members, whilst teams have grown of up to 10 times the national average

Thus, coworking spaces doubled every year since 2006 as reported

by Deskmag.8  Every workday, the number of coworking spaces grew, on average, by 4.5 spaces. In 2012, there were 200,000 Coworkers worldwide and every workday the figure increases, on average which corresponds to a conservative estimate of an annual growth of 50,000 people.

More examples below of Coworking spaces designed and fitted out by Select Interiors Ltd

Example above informal ‘beech hut’ style meeting rooms designed and fitted out in Leeds Dock by Select Interiors Ltd. The empty unit was converted into a coffee shop, co-worker apace with 2 informal meeting rooms and a marketing suite for Allied London Estates. They provide a whimsical meeting area servicing the Co-worker space for 46 people, coffee provided courtesy of the operator Caffeine & Co


Others are beginning to take notice: this philosophy of community and collaboration is filtering into the mainstream. Stuart Lipton, the man who brought progressive American office ideas to Britain in the 1980s, in the form of the Broadgate development, has taken a keen interest in Second Home. His latest project, the gargantuan 22 Bishopsgate, will play host to “a changing menu of actions”, with shared areas conceived as “village greens” where work life will be “coached and curated”

The example above Coworker space designed and fitted out in Manchester by Select Interiors Ltd for the mighty Allied London

The example above Coworker space designed in collaboration with Kate Yates from Territory Interiors and fitted out in Manchester by Select Interiors Ltd for Biz Spaces in Gateshead


Are Shared living spaces (Co-Living) the housing equivalent of Co-Worker spaces?

Shared living spaces are being created in major cities in the US as ‘millennials’ seek a more sociable lifestyle. The concept is a cross between student housing and hotel, Co-Living spaces offer tenants serviced rooms in shared apartments with communal lounges, kitchens and bathrooms at a lower cost than rental flats and houses

Computer generated model of a Co living skyscraper in Stratford starting on site in 2016 by PLP Architects in London

 The scheme above by PLP Architects is designed to appeal to “a creative set” and will include a stage, a quiet room, drawing room, exhibition space and a cinema, alongside more traditional amenities. A games room, library, garden, as well as a spa, “disco laundrette”, and gym will also be located onsite.

 The trend has come across the Atlantic from its roots in New York from a Co-Worker offices specialist and has now spun off into the residential housing using the same sharing space ethos

Disco laundrette in a Co-Worker scheme

Co-living space in New York

The builds are focused on community and functionality; the scheme above in New York offers one of the most flexible housing solutions on the market. “Simply show up and begin your life without the hassle.”

Investors who have reaped the rewards from student accommodation schemes, the market for which is becoming saturated co-worker living spaces is the next big trend. Predictions are that these schemes will be the new driver for the regeneration of cities

Case Study creating Coworker Spaces for Hello Work

Design and process to create the popular Hello Work Co-worker space for Allied London and OBI Property

Before images of the space subdivided with concrete block walls and partitions


ketch brief for the creation of Hello Workspace by Allied London’s insanely creative Chief Executive Officer Michael Ingall

plan layout developed by the Select Interiors design team based on the sketch brief above

3D Model of the proposed Co-Worker space for the expanding Hello Work concept

Co-worker space design & fitted out in former Granada headquarters in Manchester by Select Interiors Ltd for Hello Workspaces & Allied London Estates

 Allied London’s Hello Work concept ‘shared worker’ spaces, in the HQ complex Manchester, & Leeds Dock was at the forefront of the trend for communal informal shared workplaces. These drop-in spaces where entrepreneurs and techies came together to work, meet & collaborate. Encounters with like-minded individuals have fertilised a seedbed of start-ups. The economic, flexible workspaces and business support have transformed the traditional rented office business model

Image of Co-worker space in Old Granada Studios for Allied London Estates & OBI Property by Select Interiors Ltd

Coworker space in Leeds with Café designed and fitted out by Select Interiors Manchester design & fit out company for the uber cool independent coffee chain Caffeine & Co, Allied London Estates & Icon Project Management Ltd

Unlike traditional offices, co-working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects. Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. In this new working culture, it is the norm to help each other, the variety of workers in these space means that coworkers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members. Connections, as well as the economy, are reasons why people pay to work in a communal space, as opposed to working from home or renting a nondescript office

Some of the projects above will be the subject of further blogs, please follow the link to view another fit out completed in The Hive  

Pixieset Link: (

We at Select Interiors judge the success of the buildings and places we design by the way people use and enjoy them – the clients who commission them, the people who inhabit them. Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging

We hope that the above blog will give you the reader a snapshot of what we are up to, what we have recently completed and an idea of our processes and ethos. We are always striving to improve our service through investment in training, technology and of course staff

Why not give us the opportunity of being of service ring Carl, Umair or Martha on 0161 445 4040

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