Interview with Studio Bates: When Co-working Builds Creativity
By Imane Mdarhri and Qingyi Xu
In the architecture industry, performance is typically based on open spaces, flexibility, relevant fees, and a good spirit of negotiation. In my opinion, CISpace has taken the deal as an innovative space, which links efficiently the community to business.
1- What is your job and how have you benefited from CISpace?
Studio Bates is a startup, specialized in Architecture. I am Bates, an Architecture and business owner originally from the UK. Currently, I live and work in Berlin. However, my main projects, network and clients are located in the UK. Currently, I run my projects from a co-working space in Berlin called, CISpace.
I had a permanent studio in Berlin for two years before it got suspended. Back then, I had to shuttle a lot across Germany and the UK, also, to deal with some family commitments. So, a permanent working space was not that necessary.
After closing it, I found online CISpace. When I met with its managers, they gave me interesting offers, suitable deals, and expressed charming hospitality.
2- In your opinion, what are the most important requirements of a working place for architects?
Architecture is about plans and large working spaces. Earlier, I experienced working in multiple working spaces in Berlin, but I had some difficulties. They were tiny, or the working hours were not suitable for me. Sometimes I had to work late at night and the possibility of storage and the exhibition of my plans was either limited or not provided. Consequently, I think a good working place for architecture has to offer open spaces and big scale desks, with a facility to move around comfortably. Also, it should offer a storage place for big photos, models or paper-plans, and essentially, high-grade services, suitable fees, and a welcoming ambiance.
3- What are the main services that CISpace offers to customers or business-owners? What are your favorite services of this co-working space?
As a team in Studio Bates, we appreciate the aspect of flexibility and negotiation in CISpace team. For instance, we are building a website and we have to fix our business address. So then, CISpace allows this possibility. Also, they encourage us with a suitable monthly rate rather than an hourly wage, which is helpful for my colleagues or people working with me. It allows them to access freely, with no obligation to log in or sign up individually. At the same time, it is beneficial for me. At the end of the month, I can know my outgoings. Therefore, I can sort my finances much more convincingly.
Moreover, the friendly character of the CISpace teamwork, the sense of encouragement and development create a sociable working-atmosphere rather than just a normal business working-space.
In general, for either a customer or a business owner, the aspect of communication and negotiation encourage commitment, and basically, a long-term partnership.
4- What are the advantages of co-working for entrepreneurs and freelancers?
From my perspective, managing all the charges, bills, cleaning, and maintenance related to permanent bureaus takes energy and requires time and money. Also, earlier we were three and now due to the Corona-virus, I work individually. So obviously, the co-working spaces covered efficiently the uncertainty of small businesses from different aspects.
5- During the COVID-19,, have you been to work to co-working? HasCOVID19 changed your working methods? (Remote working etc.)
At the beginning of this epidemic, they had to lock-down for one month, due to sanitary-obligations. It was frustrating. However, after the re-opening, things came back to normal, which is a relief. During this time; I had to stop all the projects. I tried to work remotely, but principally, it was not an efficient choice for me. Personally, I found the CISpace very calm, productive, and it helps me focus very well.
My projects are mainly, in the UK. Before COVID19, I had to shuttle between Berlin and the UK for meetings. Yet lately I have started using teleconferencing technology like Zoom.
6- How do you see the future of Co-working spaces after Covid-19 and social-distance rules?
This crisis affects almost all industries. The companies after Covid-19 will focus more on basic expenses. Managing an office for small businesses could be an out of the budget issue. So I think Co-working spaces may take a half-part of the market, with all the benefits and the extra services they offer, either for locals or foreigners business-owners.
7- How do you foresee the Startup-Ecosystem in Berlin? And the role of co-working spaces and meeting points like CISpace in the local startups? How can CISpace help talents like yours?
The commercial rent-fee is increasing exponentially. In this case, for limited income businesses like Studio Bates can be challenging. In fact, my industry, Architecture, is a typical slow industry, where projects take long periods rather than the Technology field, for example. Here flexibility becomes fundamental and co-working spaces represent the perfect deals at this level.
8- Have you ever joined any business network events or architecture seminar in Berlin? Would you like to join one or invite your network to join that if CISpace would like to host that?
No, I have not joined any business network events or architecture seminar in Berlin. Still, I am always interested to meet other people with different orientations. In my industry, forming a network is sort of building trust and holding potential clients. For those reasons, I am constantly open to new opportunities and projects.