New faces every morning, new ideas every day, chats and scraps of conversation. Brief contacts become friends, friends turn into business partners – or the other way around. In the evening: Clink your glasses, or beer bottles at the house bar – to the new project or simply to the end of the work day. This is what it’s like in a coworking space.
Those new to town or spending just a few days, not only find a fully equipped work space, but also make new contacts easily. In times of new work going to work doesn’t mean taking the same tram to the same office everyday. Thanks to subtle and affectionate concepts you can not only work in old factory buildings and warehouses, in historic residential houses or architecturally demanding new buildings, but combine work and leisure time there. Whether it’s the childcare next door, the evening get-together at the bar or clearing your mind on the rooftop terrace or even on an indoor playground – the versatile coworking spaces are as interesting for temporary guests as for locals.
See for yourself, what North Rhine-Westphalia has on offer in terms of new work!
For chatterboxes and shushers
Here, there is room for diversity, individuality and flexibility. There are desks for vagabonds and offices for creatures of habit. There are meet-ups to fill your head with new ideas and swings to clear it again. There is coffee to give you a boost and after-work beer to toast successes. There are walls that can be written on for creative team meetings and enormous screens for client presentations. Above all, there is a mix of suits and slipper-wearers, chaotic types and strategists, bureaucrats and charismatic characters, early birds and night owls, chatterboxes and shushers. All of these characters are spread out over 2,000 m2 with about 225 workspaces where open brick walls and steel beams define the space. Over five levels, more than 15 companies work at the old ELBA factory. The coworking space is on the first floor, with a roof terrace and a view of the Wupper. On the ground floor there is also an arena for big appearances. The hall is available for events.
Coworking for parents
Cowoki Co-working plus, Köln
This rarity is located between Cologne’s green belt and the old town: The coworking space with childcare. What sound so obvious now was still an unfortunate gap in the market in Cologne, a city of millions, until 2017 – which former independent property manager Peggy Wahrlich knew how to close. Even though her own two daughters are already grown-up, the topic of combining family and work is still close to her heart.
Her Cowoki is bright and relaxed with no unnecessary bells and whistles to distract you from your work. The flowers arrangements here and there lift the mood when concentration wains. Here, coworkers can think clearly at ergonomic workspaces in unobtrusive pastel tones. There are about 30 workspaces spread out over a generous 360 square metres, including areas where you can either be loud or have to be quiet. Working in a team, all day on the phone – no problem at all. And not a peep to be heard from the children in the childcare facility next door. Maybe it’s because we are in the immediate vicinity of the Stadtgarten and the group has probably headed over there to play. At lunchtime, you can chose from the spacious kitchen, where the wooden worktops and group tables provide cosiness in winter. And that is the major plus next to the childcare: The atmosphere among the coworkers is collegial, exchange is important. In summer, the cafés and sun terraces of the Belgian Quarter and Friesen Quarter are not far away. And anyone who does not have children of their own is welcome here too.
Working in Germany’s western DigiHub
Digital Church, Aachen
The cheerful message that start-ups have a positive effect on their surroundings and that, above all, they thrive when embedded in a heavy-hitting tech hub has long been received in the Aachen area. RWTH, IoT and B2B form the firm foundation for start-up evangelists, business angels, students and, above all, many gloriously solid medium-sized enterprises: The centre of this unusual and much envied cluster in the tri-state area is the Digital Church, a de-consecrated church and former pop-up hotel which, because of its previous use, is blessed with a stylish vaulted ceiling and six artistically designed office cubes in the church. North-east of the inner city, a stone’s throw away from Kurgarten and the bus station, a new digital quarter has been slowly growing here, the centre of which is already highly attractive. Those seeking workspaces find their FlexDesk in a church nave or make a pilgrimage to the sacristy for meetings; for a well-earned break it’s off to the soft seating area or the Elysée Bar. Every thing is taken care of: A full fridge to quench your thirst and convivial pizza orders to satisfy your hunger. Enough with texting, decoding or tinkering? The programme around Digitalhub Aachen offers enough inspiration for flashes of genius and ranges from venture capital consulting to IoT workshops to introductions to VR/AR technology.
Comfortable and highly concentrated
“Kabü” stands for Kaffee (coffee) and Büro (office) – logical. And where coffee is drunk, everything must be in order with the world. The establishment for the hard-working serves as a culture platform and place of exchange. The idea is simple and good: Integrating individual workspaces in a café atmosphere in order to promote networks and synergy effects. The nice, bright collection of furniture helps with this and invites cosy chats and concentrated work. Meetings, company and association meetings, seminars, readings, weddings and birthdays can be booked on an hourly or daily basis using the entire space without any huge expense in advance. The basic equipment includes a projector, a piano (!), WLAN and sufficient sockets. Delicious hot drinks such as the Kabüccino and healthy fuel for hungry stomachs are also provided. Kabü is in the heart of the trendy quarter between Rüttenscheid and Essen-Süd on Annastraße, but is so nice inside you won’t even want to go outside.
A space for real flow
Me and all Hotel, Düsseldorf
Outside the city flows, inside the ideas flow. In the lobby of me and all hotel in Düsseldorf, the hustle and bustle of “Little Tokio” comes in through the large panoramic window. Stylish bicycles hang on the wall at the back and a coffee speciality from the local in-house roasters awaits on the long table, setting the scene for hard work. Good work requires good spaces and this is one of the best an urban nomad could imagine. Quiet enough to be able to concentrate, varied enough not to descend into dreariness. Perfect framework conditions for the flow and to complete the day’s work with the added motivation of a prospective visit to one of the most highly-rated ramen restaurants just around the corner. Wonderful curiosities everywhere: Anyone who needs to take a break can complete a vertical fitness course to the eleventh floor or allow themselves to be pampered at the in-house barber shop. Not even eight minutes on foot of just one tram stop away from Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof, large groups can also go fishing for new ideas together. A large whiteboard helps to digitally record shared thoughts, bring them all together and allowing then to be taken away in the form of an e-mail. Whether a lone wolf or camp participant: As a coworking space, it forms an elegantly designed, flowing transition between the hotel and the city, between work and pleasure.
Frog green particle accelerator
Startplatz is an old hand at this and offers two locations in the Rhineland: In Cologne since 2012 already, in Düsseldorf since 2015. The latter is in one of the smartest quarters in the city: In the Medienhafen district. From the outside, colourful “Flossies” scale the façade; this continues inside with the colourful frog green corporate colour scheme. The company’s objective is to bring the start-up scene in the Rhineland together – as an incubator and accelerator. Success to date: Over 300 start-ups have been part of the community and availed themselves of the entire range of services. While the obligatory foosball is here too, the range of consulting in the form of office hours with personnel, insurance and legal consultants is far more interesting. Today, 80 start-ups work at the two Startplatz locations and are therefore automatically part of the community – alongside established companies with which they form the Startplatz ecosystem. And there are plenty of opportunities to get involved: For example, anyone who is not looking for a fixed or flexible workspace can still be part of the community for a monthly contribution and avail themselves of events and other offerings. Anyone who books a desk has 24-hour access to it and therefore enough time to spend relaxed lunch breaks and coffee breaks in the beautiful city district of Bilk. Here, hungry lunch-goers can find everything from sushi and bowls to pizza and homemade ice-cream. It’s just a short way to the cafés in Medienhafen itself, so coffee-to-go is best enjoyed with a view of the water.
Coworking is so wonderful
Cologne’s Hansaring offers excellent transport links: Underground trains, regional trains and road traffic all intersect over six lanes here. The turn of the century facades have kept their time-honoured charm and are home to hotels, law firms and medical practices. Right in the middle of this, with a façade that is no less beautiful: Wertheim for slow workers. Arrive, breath deeply and get started – but in a totally relaxed manner. Forget what is happening outside, in here it really is easy. The home for coworkers reaches five storeys up into the sky: From the bar on the ground floor to the apiary right at the top. Founder Oliver Struch and interior architect Kathrin Nolde have done tremendous work here: Slow working comes quite naturally because the view gladly captures your attention allowing your thoughts to wander over the beautiful pictures, (designer) furniture and beautiful view – as far as the cathedral from the very top. In addition to 40 workspaces for coworkers, there are also “apartments” to which groups can withdraw for a whole day. Even if Wertheim is still called a “boarding house”, there are no plans to provide overnight accommodation and breakfast. This is better for achieving a work-life balance too. Nevertheless, things can run late when exciting projects and ideas are presented during a friendly gathering with a beer in the hand at the “Creative Couch” network event. There is no kitchen but the Friesen Quarter with its many lunchtime offerings is within walking distance.
Foodies, makers & more
Super 7000, Düsseldorf
Super 7000 is an enormous pioneer plant that has undertaken to transform a quarter with its creative power on the site of the “Alter Schlachthof” in Düsseldorf Derendorf. The deep roots it is setting reach from an impressive Fablab, including the obligatory 3D printers and an exuberant willingness to help, to the nucleus of the NRW food scene, where new foods and products are nutritiously researched. But even if you are not interested in technology or food, you can still open your laptop in proper style here. Distributor sockets dangle from the ceiling on chains, generous artificial turf and a pall pit all contribute to coworking folklore: Super 7000 is named like a detergent and works like a brand accelerator for good ideas. Because the 7,000 square metres that give the coworking space its name offer room for encounters in particular: At the monthly super picnic or the countless meet-ups, people become closer: intermittently with a day ticket, for longer as a member or as a spin-off in a rented office. The fridge is full and management sees itself as responsible for making even very special requests a reality.
The 9th, Bonn
That is applied coworking: Located in the city centre right next to the university and equipped with a concept store, this space does quite a few things right. Anyone who calls in here with their business ideas for small, local businesses can try them out straight away in the super central store in the middle of Bonn. The early stage of starting a business, the so-called incubation phase, is clearly the focus at The 9th, which is why you not only meet occasional coworkers here but also some regular guests. This is how a network develops in which you can get legal and taxation advice quickly and easily before you really get going. It may look crazy at first from the pavement. Instead of shoes or handbags, passers-by see people with steam coming out of their ears in the shop windows with “Your ideas matter” written above them. Inside, the spaces with their simple brick walls and sleek wooden furniture create a cool, urban impression. And: The available space can of course be used for all standard formats, from workshops to meetings. In order to be able to implement ideas and concepts in image and sound, the space also offers an audio-visual studio for its tenants. For lunch, make a quick trip to the market or one of the cafés and ice-cream parlours at Bonn's pretty Marktplatz. That is how to work!
Working in the factory workshop
Union Gewerbehof, Dortmund
In the 80s, there was some serious hustle here: Union Gewerbehof was created back then through an initiative by unemployed people. Since then, it has developed magnificently and today the building complex is home to about 90 small businesses and around 200 employees from a wide range of sectors. The spaces on offer include offices, workshops, studios and warehouses. These also include communal areas such as the seminar rooms and workshop, which can also be hired. It is multifunctional and ideally suited for meetings, events, seminars and cultural events, and is otherwise used by coworkers. Almost 200 people can fit in! In the workshop sales room there are further workspaces for coworkers, which can be hired on a practical daily or monthly basis. If your blood sugar and therefore your concentration drop, the courtyard café is not far away. In this pretty, small, quiet location, breakfast platters, coffee, tea, smoothies and seasonal treats are served. The café provides a further location for small meetings, breaks or just a cosy chat. For anyone who is looking for something to do after work, the flea market and other events in the Unionviertel will put you in a good mood.