A SPACE’s Lounge and HQs: Headspace, Not Just Floorspace
As a workspace proposition there really could be nothing more effortless than your bedroom, or poolside, or if your abode isn’t so humble and you have a room or two to spare, your own private office with a view. But we all know a line (one that isn’t so thin after all) should be drawn somewhere, because working — nay, working well — is not just a matter of being physically able to do it, of being able to literally lift a finger; it is also a matter of being able to avail of a headspace that’s apt for the undertaking. In short, you need some Beach Boys-prescribed good vibrations, and sadly, your home, though possibly brimming with such, probably has too much of it that work is rendered a practical impossibility. And though options for members of the innovation community — creatives, freelancers, startups — presently abound, they aren’t really the most ideal. The short of it is that the non-office-bound worker is left to fend for himself, tied to desk-and-chair at a pricey café, doomed to be an island in an ocean of islands.
Things have gotten a little better, though, with the dawning of shared coworking spaces. But, alas, even well-meaning movements get co-opted and trivialized by bandwagoners, practically robbing people blind while sporting a trendy tag. A SPACE on Legazpi St. in Makati has a different game, however, and that is not playing anyone, but rather allowing them to play. Central to their operation is a space they call the Lounge, a creative commune of sorts which is the perfect middle-ground between officious and homey. CEO Matt Morrison expounds, “The Lounge floor, the reason it exists, is because I hate going to Starbucks to try to do any kind of serious thinking. One, I don’t want to eat their food; two, I cannot find a power supply; three, when I go to the bathroom, I worry about leaving my laptop on the table; four, it gets busy and noisy, and you feel a little bit out of place; five, I don’t want to have to pay for my desk through coffee, because I end up with flickering peripheral vision linked to crazy amounts of caffeine.”
In the A SPACE lounges, we find fast data connections, and various spots for a chat or private focus; coffee and juices are within reach; and also easy access to food for the soul: books, zines, and vinyl records you can spin anytime. On top of that, there is a malleable visual aesthetic that permeates the area, a heart to go with the skeleton, in a manner of speaking. The philosophy that pervades is not that just of shared space and shared resources but also of shared talents and expertise. “Everywhere is kind of like the second best choice. The best choice would be a place is a place that gives you options, so you can do what you want to do, work how you want to work” Morrison expounds, by which he doesn’t just mean the array of seating options available for these fine standalone creatives — swinging chairs, beanbags, standup bars, a balcony — but also the sense of freedom that comes with the general idea. A SPACE staff members pepper the area, not quite like ninjas on the prowl but closer to informal personal assistants for the Loungers.
“The Lounge is basically just another box, but it’s got different spots where you can work: it’s not just a desk; it’s not just a chair. You pay for access to the space, but you get all the things you need; it’s all there. You’ve got power sockets, WiFi, wired data, smart support, and liquids; you’ve got security and peace of mind, meaning if you want to get up, you can walk around and leave your coat or jacket, even your laptop,” the A SPACE head honcho elaborates further, adding that though they’re quite proud of the radical tweaks they’ve done to the coworking template, it is the clients themselves — their stories, backgrounds, and the work they produce while in the space — that shape the place. “It’s about unchaining people from the traditional, conventional desk, and allowing them to find their space — that’s not their bed or another coffee shop — and to have people around them, a certain buzz around them, that can be super-empowering,” he adds.
When a day-pass space isn’t enough, clients move on to dedicated desks for slightly longer terms, and when they prosper even further — growing from individuals to small teams, needing not just a nook but a slightly larger, and more private, team area — there are small HQs within the structure that they can avail of, with the same amenities present of course, but with an irresistible detail that cannot be ignored: a measure of exclusivity, along with security in the knowledge that, within a desired duration at least, they have a home to call their own. “These are the spaces where people come with all these amazing ideas, and we love to support them, see it all happen.”