London, United Kingdom
New York, New York
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Auckland, New Zealand
Digitization has revolutionized the priorities and design of the physical workplace. The flexibility and spontaneity of virtual networks is being recreated and mapped offline. The radical democratization of technology has empowered people to create anytime and anywhere. Assets are not owned but leased and “shared” through platforms that give users access to content, manufacturing, workspace, business services, and networks. Such services can be accessed 24/7, allowing collaboration and creativity to happen on a real-time basis for clients anywhere in the world.
Neighbourhoods and workspaces are being redefined as a result. With miniaturization, 3D printing, on-demand manufacturing, and “factory-in-a-box” models, anyone can prototype an idea from their bedroom. The maker-space and creative manufacturing hubs are emerging in urban centres, with developments like Industry City in Brooklyn.
Offices are housed in the cloud, enabling someone in the Canary Islands to access the same resources as a worker in Canary Wharf.
And yet the more expensive and crowded real estate of Canary Wharf is, the more people want to be, especially millennial workers. They crave the culture, the networks, the opportunities and the vibrancy of city life. Because they rent access to workspace, services, and homes, they can adopt a lifestyle that they might not otherwise afford. Building equity becomes less important than building experiences for digital nomads.
Mixed-use communities allow them to work, shop, and live in the same complex. The sharing economy and virtualization of work allows them to be nimble in pursuing new opportunities.
New typologies demonstrate critical synergies between the virtual network and physical space. The rise of these types of spaces demonstrates the impact of the virtual network on the physical evolution of space. These new spatial typologies reflect, enhance and extend the essence of the virtual network, providing physical locations for human collaboration, interaction, creation and connection which match the experiences of the creative network in the virtual world.
Equinox: A health club that sits apart and above from its competitors because of its strength of ‘creative network’ – you join this gym because of who else has joined this gym. Its brand identity and online customer reach means that it proudly costs more than any other health club – because it’s cooler. The experience is the attraction and the millennial generation is happy to pay more for experience.
Paramount: A network of people, connected through their love of beautiful spaces and things. They come together in a virtual community and in a physical space to network in their shared industry and to take pleasure in the experience of the architecture. They chose to work here over cheaper, larger co-working spaces because of the quality of the space and the quality of the network.
Neoteny: An organisation that provides customer experience excellence for virtual interactions. Their world is virtual, their clients engage with them virtually, they employ people virtually. What does space mean to this creative network – nothing. The place to collaborate is a Slack channel, their place to come together is via VC – there is no need for a physical corporate presence. How far will this pattern evolve into mainstream into the future?
Hong Kong, China