Frankie Unsworth visits a flexible workspace with global franchise ambitions for mobile workers in Buenos Aires.
January 19th, 2011
The best design concepts often orginate from solutions to daily problems. Urban Station is the response to a very modern dilemma.
The brainchild of a small tribe of mobile workers struggling to find spaces to park their Macs and hold meetings away from whining babies, Urban Station responds to the growing trend for ‘homeworkers’ – whether small architectural practices, freelance writers or consultants – looking for a flexible space as a base.
Set to roll out numerous franchises in Buenos Aires in 2011, the concept is simple but highly effective. I met up with 2 of the 4 founders for a tour of the first branch in Palermo Soho – a trendy barrio home to many ad agencies, art galleries and studios.
Housed in a lofty warehouse space, the first Urban Station combines all the essential design elements of a modern office space to be used by individual or small group workers with hourly, daily and monthly rates.
“As mobile workers we all suffered the problems we are trying to solve here for freelancers,” Marcelo Cora, one of the co-founders, explains.
The 4 partners behind the project come from a variety of backgrounds – among them a marketing director, consultant and an art director, all of whom retired from their corporate careers to launch the concept in November 2009.
There are break out spaces furnished with flea market finds which offer a relaxed contrast to the desks and stations, each replete with a ‘backpack’ – a specially-designed pocket to nest wires and electrical outlets.
Meeting rooms on the upper mezzanine can be rented out for small group sessions.
There is a coffee zone where workers are invited to help themselves to coffee and toast, or the porteno’s answer to a croissant – a medialuna.
Branded bikes in the Urban Station’s ubiquitous golden yellow are available for customers to take for a spin around the nearby park or scoot off for a meeting.
Two more franchises – one downtown and the other in San Telmo – are to follow early this year, with plans for international expansion in the very near future.
With their strong brand identity their aim is to create a global network of Urban Stations so mobile workers will never be too far from a place to call ‘office’.
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