We spoke to Deborah Rippol, Community Lead for WeWork London about the company’s new Collaborative space in Southbank. The space is WeWorks’ first in the UK and looks to be the first of many. Here’s what they had to say:
Firstly, the space looks fantastic! What inspired the design?
We try to go with the flow of the building so each of our spaces is unique, rather than trying to fit a prescribed need for office sizes. Having said that, all of our offices have the same feel so when you walk in you know instantly that you’re in a WeWork space. Miguel McKelvey, our Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, is dedicated to creating the best environment for our members. He works closely with an amazing team of designers, architects and construction project managers to ensure that all of our spaces have layouts that foster a sense of openness and collaboration.
What does WeWork have to offer that other co-working spaces can’t provide?
WeWork offers more than just space, we provide a platform for creators. We provide the space, community and services that enable businesses, including start-ups, entrepreneurs and larger enterprises, to thrive. Our mission is to help our members make a life, not a living.
We are dedicated to the success of our members in a way that most others simply aren’t. Rather than just offering work space and occasional events, our approach is holistic. We’re trying to find new ways of empowering our members every day and we want to be able to really make a difference to someone who is focusing all of their energy on building a business.
It’s taken a little while for WeWork to reach English soil, what made London the best option?
As a global leader in culture and commerce, London strongly supports its entrepreneurial community. It is the perfect location for WeWork’s first international base. London has a strong small business infrastructure and its geographic location makes it a leading global business hub.
We want to grow with the independent workforce in London and help fulfil the demand for workspace, but also provide access to community and services. Our South Bank space had an occupancy of more than 80% at the time of opening.
We noticed that you do a lot more than just provide workspace, tell us about some of your events.
Our events are an integral part of the WeWork experience. They are a chance for our members to learn, speak, network, collaborate and discuss the challenges of starting and running a business with other like-minded individuals.
The London space has only been open for a few weeks but we have already hosted a series of events. These have included a legal workshop to enable members to meet with a number of professional advisors on a range of topics; a talk from Dean Connell, WeWork’s interior designer, to showcase the building’s creation; and a fashion tech meet-up, organised by the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, to allow our members to meet with industry experts.
Are there plans for more WeWork spaces elsewhere in the UK?
Definitely. We have a vigorous expansion plan, with offices in Amsterdam, California and Israel opening shortly. The UK remains a key market for us as we continue to grow internationally. Watch this (work) space.
Think Coworking might be for you? If you’re interested in taking up workspace with WeWork you can find them here