Ben Brown reports on a new creative co-working space, which opened in London’s Shoreditch in the autumn, and offers an innovative pay-as-you-go membership scheme.
Walking into Shoreditch Platform, a new pay-by-the-hour co-working space in London, you feel sucked into an Alice in Wonderland wormhole. The stunning black-and-white artwork wraps up the spiral staircase and an outrageous sculpture of gold leaves hang above.
Creatives in London will love this new co-working space in the East End. Designed with freelancers, startups and travelling professionals in mind, Shoreditch Platform offers a new way to work.The space is unique in offering a “by-the-hour” payment structure, as opposed to others in the city that charge monthly rent or membership fees. It’s a drop-in space, split over two levels, and complete with meeting rooms, private work areas and communal tables.
The interior design of the building brings a Silicon Valley startup vibe to London. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d wandered into one of Google or Facebook’s eccentric offices. It’s a far cry from the alternatives I’ve experienced when searching out affordable co-working spaces in the capital. Most are dark and impersonal or involve staking out a corner of Starbucks for the day.At just £5 + VAT an hour (and a full day capped at £35 + VAT), Shoreditch Platform offers a practical work environment at a reasonable cost. The six-person meeting rooms can be booked for £30 + VAT or £15 + VAT if you continue to pay by the hour after the meeting.
Transactions are completed with a personal card – like an Oyster travel card – that you’ll top up as required.
From 6pm the upper floor morphs into a social hangout with free entry to all. The bar opens, cocktails pour, and a DJ spins music until 1.30am on Friday and Saturday. I visited the work space as the opening party kicked off, and this is no awkward office party – it’s as warm and buzzy as any Shoreditch bar.
To help snap out of the hangover, Shoreditch Platform opens at 8am, offering breakfast as well as yoga and pilates sessions. Lunch and dinner are also served throughout the day.
Shoreditch Platform and the rising trend of digital nomads
Shoreditch Platform is at the heart of a new trend for self-employment and digital entrepreneurship. We recently reported on the rise of digital nomads, and this co-working space offers the perfect drop-in location to set up meetings and catch up on emails, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
According to the folks at Shoreditch Platform, one in seven are now self-employed as their main job. The figure is even higher in the US, where 30 per cent of the work force is freelance. On top of that, an astonishing 608,100 startups were founded in the UK last year, suggesting a widespread shift away from traditional work structures.
This trend was also highlighted by Globetrender’s editor and founder, Jenny Southan, during a recent visit to Stockholm. A co-working space and “house of innovation” called Epicentre combines 300 member companies with 1,500 individual digital nomads, all of whom work out of the same site. Interestingly, about 60 of them have also chosen to be implanted with a digital chip that unlocks doors and allows access to various amenities.
Globetrender predicts that innovative, creative co-working spaces will continue to pop up in business capitals across Europe and beyond.
The design behind Shoreditch Platform
The standout feature of Shoreditch Platform – and the thing most likely to lure intrigued freelancers – is the stunning artwork and design inside the building. The architecture is the work of Alex Meitlis, known for his work on NOPI restaurant in Soho.
The black and white design and lush gold sculptures are by Ivo Bisignano, and the entire concept was dreamed up by director, Yuval Hen. Hen is one of the main figures behind the work space and has previously partnered with Madonna on art design.The commitment to a fresh aesthetic gives the Shoreditch work space an edge over others in London, particularly when it comes to attracting creative freelancers and digital entrepreneurs.
Going forward, Shoreditch Platform will offer weekly and monthly memberships in addition to its PAYG hourly rate. Prices will start from £100 + VAT weekly and £200 + VAT monthly.
The co-working space itself is located at No 1 Kingsland Road at the junction of Old Street and Shoreditch High Street.