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Multifunctional Spaces for Future Existence

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The UN has predicted that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in the city. That is 3 billion more people in urban centres and puts immense pressure on healthcare and affects affordability, to name only a few. That space you’re currently enjoying, is starting to feel a bit tight, right? 

Bryce Willem, CMO and Director of Research from Cutwork, an architecture design studio based in Paris, paints a picture of what a future of coworking and coliving can look like. 

Cutwork is a future-thinking design studio, started 3 and a half years ago. They exploded onto the architectural scene by landing some incredible jobs early on in their journey. The creation of custom furniture and interior concept design for startup campus, Station F, then full interior design and 15 pieces of custom furniture for Flatmates, the first large-scale coliving establishment in Paris, as well as the innovative Cortex Shelter, a build-it-yourself refugee shelter, has put Cutwork on the map. 

The organization of nine consists of an award-winning team of architects, designers, engineers, and researchers. They’re at the forefront of developing new ways to live and work, by creating new solutions and innovations to challenge urbanization. 

So, how do we approach a more sustainable way of working and living? 

Shared architecture is one of the most interesting and promising areas of development today. The more offerings, services, and activities that people can participate in and share within dense urban locations, the better cities can begin to ease social and economic pressures as they continue to grow. Although it’s generally understated and overlooked, architecture and design play a key role in encouraging or accompanying changes in behaviour and the ways we interact with one another in our environments. 

Another example is to develop blended, multifunctional spaces that can adapt to different offerings and communities all throughout the day: public coworking cafes that transform into low-key social bars and restaurants by night. This helps make the space a neighbourhood magnet, both to locals and international audiences, while the coliving and coworking elements of the space help distribute costs and resources more efficiently. A great model we are all familiar with already is ride sharing, where expenses, space and responsibility is shared. 

Who’s doing it right?

In terms of Smart Cities and rapid urbanization, China is pioneering a lot of innovation, and the efficiency and fluidity this concept brings to everyday life is incredible. However, shared architecture is a potential opportunity that still exists. For places like India and South America, shared living is the norm.

The traditional ‘mononuclear’ family — a set up with only parents and children as opposed to extended family, has been widely adopted by the western society. And, yet in Munich this model has fallen below 15% of households — a sign that families are no longer living by these habits, but rather shifting to live in new and largely “un-architected” ways. 

Cities that are the most progressive in adopting these changes are cities that are already under pressure, like San Francisco, New York and London, where scenarios like flat-sharing are becoming popular to mitigate space, cost and economic challenges. 

What should coworking spaces do in the light of this developing trend?

It is key to keep this way of living in mind going forward – providing a space that is flexible enough to serve more than one purpose, and that merges work and life in a blended solution. An urban block integrates well into the community when it is diverse and usable. It welcomes locals and jet setters, making a quick business trip easy and uncomplicated. 

And, by embracing the culture of blended usage, a large risk factor is also mitigated. During Covid scores of buildings stood locked up, rental payments fell behind and business owners feared permanent closure. By creating these multifunctional, blended structures, the lifespan of both business and buildings are expanding. 

Do you want to learn more? 

September 21st at 1 PM, Bernie Mitchell is hosting an interactive webinar with Laëtitia Vitaud from Welcome to the Jungle and Antonin Yuji Maeno from Cutwork about potential futures that could very well challenge our ways or work and life sooner than we expected – through the lens of the 15-minute City lifestyle. An ecosystem that brings all the necessary facilities for work, school, health and play into a vicinity that is quick and easy to access. 

Take part in this discussion and book your free virtual seat here.

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