The open office is hardly new; think of Frank Lloyd Wright’s breathtaking 1930s design of SC Johnson’s headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin, with its 22,000-square-foot work arena featuring a forest of slender pillars capped by saucer-shaped tops. Fast-forward to Coworkrs dazzling new co-working space, seen here, which recently opened in Gowanus and was designed by Thomas Leeser.
I first caught wind of the space on Kontor, a Pinterest-like website for offices.
The three-level, 47,000-square-foot space is connected by a staircase that wends its way through the floors, creating fantastic spatial opportunities as it goes. The lavish use of Yves Klein blue was a stretch, initially, for founder and CEO Shlomo Silber, who says, “it took some time, but I became a follower.”
Everywhere you turn, the architecture offers places to hang out or meet with co-workers. This Gowanus branch is the third Coworkrs space in New York (there are two others in the Flatiron and Financial District). Each branch has a different design to mesh with the community it serves.
“Our tagline is ‘At home at work,’” Silber says. The giant kitchen wall certainly adds to the home-away-from-home feel.
“We’ve done lots of office spaces,” Leeser says. “Here, we wanted to keep the industrial bones of the old building — but not in a nostalgic way. We wanted to add interventions to make it work for today.”
There are many different types of work spaces here, some of which can be completely personalized.
Here, murals by the street artist Whisbe create a backdrop for two glass-enclosed conference rooms, a stone’s throw from the meandering staircase that looks different with every step you take.