Hot Desks And Urban Forests: This Is The New Way To Work
It started in Spitalfields — now Rohan Silva has taken LA with a new Second Home. From its sleek pods to Gen Z icons launching their start-ups in the canteen, Samuel Fishwick hails the future of work
If it isn’t everyday that an Oscar-toting Hollywood celebrity strolls into your office, removes their Aviators, nods at your breakout zones and stops by the cafeteria to try the lunchtime special, perhaps you need to reconsider your career options. At Second Home, it’s a regular occurrence.
“We’ve had David Lynch, Judd Apatow, Akon, Jessica Williams and Jaden Smith through our doors in our first year here”, says Rohan Silva, co-founder of the stylish subletter of workspace 2.0 (and Evening Standard columnist). It’s been a happy 12 months. Second Home — after establishing footholds in Clerkenwell, Spitalfields, Notting Hill, London Fields and Lisbon — cracked the US last year by rehabilitating two acres of disused land in East Hollywood. Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski dropped in to host a book signing for his new cookbook in December. Chance the Rapper was so eager to get a look at the site that he signed a “death waiver” for the Home’s hard-hat party before the site had even been built.
In a sentence: Second Home is a co-working space. As a philosophy, it’s more than that: designed to transform the balance of that triggering late-capitalist buzzword “work/life balance”. The first site opened in Spitalfields in 2014, a haven for small start-ups seeking low(ish) rent sites that employees actually want to work in. In an old carpet factory just off Brick Lane, the resident young start-up crowd could walk out from their silent, futuristic office pods, all curved plastic and vintage chairs, and open a door into a room full of kids dancing to a synthy-soul band on a Friday night (or Thursday night, for that matter). Its La Despensa café does healthy, sustainable farm-to-table eating.
That was then. In 2020, it’s a co-working empire, with a diverse portfolio of tenants. In Spitalfields, 14.6 per cent of renters are from the tech world; 13.2 per cent are social or not-for-profit enterprises; 9.8 per cent are in consumer product design; 8.4 per cent are in fashion; 6.1 per cent are in advertising.
Published: February, 07, 2020
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