A SPACE Meeting Rooms: For Stars, Dreamers, and Sages

A SPACE Manila prides itself on infusing its environs with the creative energies of innovators. Every nook and cranny expresses these energies in several forms: a rush of power akin to taking center stage, an electric jolt to the imagination, an easy flow to collaboration. Its community of creatives, entrepreneurs, and innovators needs this atmosphere to keep them lean and hungry, agile and adaptive.

Of course, this isn’t the first thing you’d think of when it comes to meetings. If anything, the idea of meetings evokes hours of sitting in traffic: a pointless, interminable sitting-around that leaves the soul a little more dead than usual. But that’s the challenge A SPACE meets head-on: the co-working hub’s penchant for the “disruptive” turns the concept of meeting rooms on its head and presents today’s professional and artistic mavericks with spaces to suit their personalities.

Design app Canva is one such example. The Australian-based company was unveiled only in 2012, and within two years opened its Manila office. Canva pretty much hit the ground running after its launch party in August 2014. From their base camp at A SPACE, they planned and coordinated its first Creatives Conference in Manila at SMX Mall of Asia. By January 2015, they held their first Canva Critique at A SPACE’s Gallery, bringing together designers and artists. They visited various schools to conduct several workshops. And when they needed to spread their gospel of Amazingly Simple Graphic Design, Canva held meetings and bloggers’ events at the RCKSTR meeting room, the one place where one can make a guarantee worthy of Freddie Mercury: we will rock you.

Other organizations need a little more space to think and incubate their concepts—right before flooring the accelerator, that is. The IdeaSpace Foundation does just that, supporting startups by connecting them with strategic partners, target markets, and industry mentors, while lending seed funding and assistance in regulatory, operational, and legal areas. Such an angel investor needs room to consider its plots and plans. The PHLSPR (read: philosopher) room, meanwhile, provides such a space for all the concepts a creative disruptor would toss out on any day’s brainstorming while keeping the world’s distractions at bay. Such an atmosphere helped the IdeaSpace Foundation design and execute events like its Demo Day and Geeks on a Beach, all while giving the startup community its much-valued boost.

There are, of course, times when an up-and-coming company has a more free-form, adaptable style, and they naturally need a space that runs parallel to their drive. Grab (Car, Taxi et al) is one such organization. Born in the crucible of Metro Manila traffic and adapted from Indonesian app MyTeksi, and whose disruptive presence in Philippine transport has led to recent legislative developments, GrabTaxi extends its influence through events at A SPACE like the launch of GrabCar and Startup Grind, the global startup community for entrepreneurs, powered by Google. Of course, it is no big surprise that GrabTaxi’s acting general manager, the young and visionary Natasha Bautista, would choose to regularly hold meetings at the ARTSN (read: artisan) room. The free-form area, with its doodled walls and open space, lends itself well to imaginative strategies and surprising connections.

Each of A SPACE’s meeting rooms comes with a screen and sound system for presentations, a sidebar for coffee and other refreshments, high-speed WiFi Internet access, and in the case of ARTSN and PHLSPR, markers for doodling on the walls. All three have, on occasion, worked to host the same event, such as the annual AngelHack for two years in a row. Up to 36 teams of software developers spent around 24 hours in a hackathon to present their ideas to some of the country’s tech icons.

Ultimately, what matters more at A SPACE are the people who use it and the energies they bring with them. What these people — rockstars, philosophers, and artisans all — create comes as the natural result of the community they build, the kind of community that calls this space its home, or at least the crossroads through which they happily pass en-route to their destination.