The coolest coworking spaces don't only provide everything a digital nomad needs to work; they also leave us gaping at their incredible looks and design. The rise of coworking lost some of its momentum during the Covid-19 pandemic, but only briefly. While many of us have experienced benefits from home working, we've also seen the downsides in terms of lack of human contact. In 2022, many are striving towards hybrid working, part at home and part – well, it could be at the office, but more and more likely that it will be at a coworking space.
Whether you're a salaried employee or an independent freelancer, coworking spaces offer the best of both worlds. You get the relaxed comfort of working from home, along with the social atmosphere of the office, and the serendipity that comes from random conversations with people you just bump into. And if the space looks anything like those in our list of the coolest coworking spaces space, you get the pleasure of a spectacular setting too.
Working from home at the moment? Don't miss our pick of the best office chair for back pain and best standing desks to make you more comfortable. And if you're looking to go into business, don't see our piece on how to start a design business for tips from the pros. In the meantime, below we look at six of the coolest coworking spaces around the world and what they have to offer.
The coolest coworking spaces
01. Crew Collective & Café, Montreal
Talk about a spectacular place to work. Number one on our list of the coolest coworking spaces is Montreal's Crew Collective & Cafe. This stunning 12,000 square-foot coworking space occupies a former Royal Bank in Old Montreal, Québec. The building dates back to the 1920s, to a time when banks really went to town with their architecture. You've got 50-foot vaulted ceilings hung with chandeliers, and everything is clad in marble and bronze.
The challenge of maintaining this grand legacy while turning the building into a practical coworking space fell on local architect Henri Cleinge. He created separate areas for employees, co-working members, meeting room renters and cafe customers by "facilitating the flow through transparent and translucent borders, making the most of the original bank teller as a natural partition, coupled with building a complex series of glass walls between the various areas, with a defined access to reflect the degree of permanency for each worker group."
Visually, it's a stunning space, or spaces, but it also gets the separation just right, so you have coworking spaces and meeting spaces where you can work in peace, but also a bustling public cafe space. Coworkers have access to all spaces 24/, and The Crew also offers closed office options and virtual office services.
02. Andwork Shibuya, Tokyo
In 2000, the American sociologist Ray Oldenburg explored the idea of a "third place": a public, social place outside of home and work. Andwork in Japan is inspired by the notion of "an office as your third place", and as such it offers the comforts of home but in a shared co-working space.
Andwork Shibuya is based in a hotel, but you don't have to be a guest to use it. And this means that, for example, you can take a shower or have a power nap in a hotel bed, whenever you're feeling the strain.
Based in the super-trendy Shibuya area of downtown Tokyo, the space is spread across two floors of the Millennials Hotel. It features a large co-working area on the third floor, with desks, sofas, booths and a terrace.
There's also a lounge, a kitchen with free tea and coffee, private phone booths, meeting rooms, and a happy hour with free beer. As you can see from these pictures, it's quite beautifully designed, setting a relaxed atmosphere for the working day ahead.
Andwork also has co-working spaces in the Tokyo district of Azabu-Juban, as well as Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kawasaki and Okinawa. It's popular with both Japanese people and the international community, making it a great place to network and meet new people too.
03. The Great Room, One George Street, Singapore
The first location on our list of the coolest coworking spaces is set amid the grandeur of an old bank, but it blends that legacy with a much more down to earth approach. For a coworking space that has a real stately feel, head to The Great Room at One George Street in Singapore. Launched in 2016, this coworking space feels more like a cross between a hotel and a gentlemen's club from the times gone.
Dark wood and black and gold colours abound, and there's an astounding art collection. It's perhaps no surprise that the design team behind were Hassell, the architectural firm that worked on Singapore landmarks like the Manhattan Bar, Atlas Bar and the Hotel Regent.
The Monday Breakfast Club offers special blends of coffee made in-house and in the evening a trolley comes by offering hot chocolate and cookies to end the day. The Great Room has five locations in Singapore, including at the legendary hotel Raffles. It also has coworking spaces in the Thai capital of Bangkok and in Hong Kong's Quarry Bay.
04. NeueHouse Bradbury, Los Angeles
If you work in a creative job, why would you work in a boring-looking building, when you could be inspired by an architectural marvel, such as the Bradbury Building in downtown in Los Angeles?
NeueHouse Bradbury is located in a historic masterpiece of architecture that dates back to 1893. The building has appeared in films, television shows and music videos, including Blade Runner – is known for its epic, light-filled atrium and detailed ironwork. Just imagine that scene greeting you every time to come here to work: what a start to the day that would be.
Covering the entire second floor, the coworking space was redesigned by Canadian studio DesignAgency in 2020, as a "cultural home for creators, innovators and thought leaders". Across a generous 25,000 square-feet area, it features communal work areas, private studios, conference rooms, phone booths, lounges, a wellness room and a cafe and bar.
While the space has been modernised, the agency has preserved historic features such as exposed wooden ceiling joists, oak-framed 11-foot-high windows, and brick fireplaces, making for beautiful and evocative surroundings that can't fail to put a spring in your step.
NeueHouse Bradbury joins the company's exisiting coworking spaces in Madison Square New York and Hollywood Los Angeles, while other planned spaces are "coming soon" to Venice Beach and Miami.
05. Hubud Coworking Space, Bali
In recent years, Bali in Indonesia has been tempting international travellers and global nomads with the creation of "island offices", and Hubud Coworking Space very much led the way. Set in the uplands town of Ubud, which is known for its traditional crafts and dance, Hubud offers the chance to work both outside by the pool, and inside a beautiful, free-flowing bamboo building. Completed with stunning flooring in recycled ulin (ironwood) wood, this space benefits from lots of natural light and cool breezes.
Views of the natural surroundings, including rice fields and the local volcano, keep you refreshed and inspired, while still enjoying fast internet 24/7 and modern air conditioning.
There are breakout spaces designed for socializing, a garden cafe, swimming pool meeting rooms with white boards and projectors, lockers, 24-hour security, a backyard full of bean bags, and even a bamboo Skype booth.
As well as coworking space, Hubud also offers co-living accommodation, corporate retreats, daily courses and coaching. Their mission is to create "an international headquarters, where people from diverse walks of life can unite and be inspired: by ideas, by the atmosphere, and by each other." Hubud is temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
06. Makerversity, London
We tend to think of co-working spaces only in terms of working on laptops. But the maker revolution is expanding fast, and Makerversity is on a mission to inspire and support this growing community in city centres around the world.
These spaces for professional makers combine office-like co-working space with workshop spaces, machines and tools. And the aim is to bring together people with all kinds of creative and technical expertise, to spark new conversations and fresh synergies, as well as conduct learning programmes to drive new skills.
Its London site is deep in the basement of Somerset House, an iconic 300 year old cultural centre on the banks of the river Thames. There's capacity for around 350 members, and a range of co-working options alongside a wood workshop, digital workshop, textile workshop, engineering workshop, podcast studio, and assembly space, where regular events are held.
There are range of tools and equipment that members can use. Highlights include the full bed CNC machine in the wood workshop, 3D printers and a large laser cutter in the digital workshop, an industrial heatpress in the textile workshop and a metal lathe Clarke CL430 in the engineering workshop.
07. Ministry of New Coworking Space, Mumbai
Ministry of New is a design-led coworking space based in Mumbai, India, aimed at independent professionals looking to be part of an international creative community. And its spaces are purpose-built to bring your vision to life.
From the sunlit courtyard lined with foliage to a sprawling gallery teeming with character and artistic spirit, and a library replete with soulful design details, each space serves as an inspiring backdrop for working on your creative projects.
While the surroundings are truly beautiful, though, the organisation believes that what sets them apart is their emphasis on building a strong, professional community. Their aim is to to create an environment in which creatives can feel continuously inspired, connected, and productive.
With that in mind, all spaces have been created according to their principles of good quality, functional, minimalistic design with a local touch. Or in their own words: "We believe that design should support, not impose. You will feel a lot of openness, greenery, natural light, and freedom to relax and just be yourself."
Ministry of New also spends a lot time curating inspiring, culturally-relevant and immersive events to bring creatives together as a community. Some are member-exclusives, while others are open to public; all, though, are designed to "unearth the artist, the networker, the do-gooder and the marketeer within".
08. Cocovivo, Isla de San Cristóbal, Panama
Want to really get away from it all, but still be able to work online? Cocovivo is located on Saint Christopher's Island, or San Cristóbal Island, a mostly forested treasure covering 37 square kilometres in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama.
A one-hour flight from Panama City or an 11 hour bus ride, it's hardly commutable. But if you're happy to stay at the Cocovivo eco-resort there, then they have a good, free Wi-Fi connection for digitally-based workers to use.
And you'll hardly be short of inspiration, with a 145-acre rainforest on your doorstep, local sloths wandering about, and a nearby coral reef that glows with bioluminescene at night.
Your immediate surroundings are pretty lovely too, with glamping-like accommodation and a shared dock area with a kitchen, upper-level lounge area and communal tables.
And you won't get bored when you're not working, with activities such as snorkelling, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, kayaking and jungle hiking on offer, and a lively mix of international guests to meet and socialise with.