With metic­u­lous AT­TEN­TION TO DE­TAIL, Work Club is REDEFINING the scope and PUR­POSE of shared of­fice space.


Sev­eral hun­dred years be­fore the cur­rent hot-de­sk­ing mania took hold, Re­nais­sance ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers and busi­ness­men worked cheek to jowl in bot­te­gas (work­shops) – the co-work­ing space of the day. It was this richly pro­duc­tive en­vi­ron­ment of cross-pol­li­na­tion that in­spired Den­mark na­tive Soren Trampedach’s con­cept of a com­bined shared of­fice space and busi­ness club.

“My idea was around di­ver­sity,” says Soren. “If you op­er­ate in iso­la­tion to some ex­tent, or within your own tribe, net­work, in­dus­try – call it what­ever you like – you are just less likely to find an­swers. If you step out­side of your tribe, you’re more likely to find dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives and ideas to what you oth­er­wise would have got.”

Cur­rently liv­ing in Aus­tralia, the ninth coun­try he’s counted as home, Soren – an ad­viser to in­dus­try lead­ers such as Google, Deloitte, NAB and Face­book – came up with the first model and busi­ness plan for his cowork­ing space back in 2005.

Work Club started as a one-level space over­look­ing the Supreme Court and Hyde Park on El­iz­a­beth Street in Syd­ney, and has since ex­panded to two, and then three, floors. A sec­ond lo­ca­tion opened on Collins Street in Mel­bourne last year. Through global af­fil­i­a­tions, Work Club mem­bers also have ac­cess to shared of­fice spa­ces in nu­mer­ous lo­ca­tions around the world, in­clud­ing New Zealand, Lon­don, Dubai and China.

Like other co-work­ing spa­ces, Work Club of­fers a busi­ness ad­dress, mail ser­vice, Wi-Fi and meet­ing rooms. But they take things fur­ther. In­spired by the famed Re­nais­sance city-state of Florence, they part­ner with or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing TEDx and The School of Life to hold sa­lon events, round­tables and lunches un­der the ban­ner of Florence Guild.

“When I opened [in] Syd­ney three years ago, I wanted to get as many dif­fer­ent kinds of peo­ple to­gether in one place [as I could],” says Soren. “Peo­ple from the top end of town, con­ser­va­tives, in­tro­verts [and] old, cyn­i­cal and crazy out-there artists.”

To en­sure a di­ver­sity of ideas and ex­pe­ri­ences, the Work Club mem­ber base is care­fully cu­rated through an ap­pli­ca­tion process. “I didn’t want 20 lawyers, I didn’t want 20 graphic de­sign­ers. I wanted it to be re­ally di­verse, be­cause oth­er­wise it was kind of de­feat­ing the whole the­ory.”

And it’s worked. There are more than 60 in­dus­tries rep­re­sented at Work Club, with mu­si­cians, philoso­phers, politi­cians, aca­demics and ex-pro­fes­sional sports­peo­ple. “There’s a few bil­lion­aires there, too,” says Soren.

Each Work Club is thought­fully planned, all the way down to its scent (a con­coc­tion of leather and citrus). “It does things to your mind, in com­bi­na­tion with the fur­ni­ture, the peo­ple. It’s not per­fume, but it’s kind of a per­fume that is just part of the ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Hav­ing crafted of­fices for BMW, Google, Mi­crosoft and oth­ers, Soren’s top pri­or­i­ties when it comes to de­sign­ing a work­place are func­tion­al­ity, and the in­tegrity of the fur­ni­ture. Ev­ery piece in the Mel­bourne Work Club 1930s art deco-style space is sourced from small Euro­pean fac­to­ries (one crafts­man makes only 40 chairs a month), the own­ers of which Soren knows per­son­ally. All of the tim­ber, leather and steel is raw “so when you touch it, you feel it,” says Soren.

“It’s not glossed over, it’s not pro­tected. There’s an au­then­tic­ity… I don’t care if the leather gets marks, I don’t care if the tim­ber gets marks. It’s his­tory. It’s feel­ing some­thing took place there.” The board­room ta­ble is made from tim­ber re­claimed from old Dan­ish ferry walls. It weighs half a tonne, and is sur­rounded by 25-year-old red leather Eames chairs that Soren bought a few years ago. “Ev­ery­one was say­ing, ‘You’re crazy, why are you buy­ing those?’” But he knew, one day, he’d have the per­fect place for them.

“The things will last for 30 to 40 years. To me, it’s not ex­pen­sive, be­cause I know that I never will need to change any of it. I take a more long-term view.

“In Den­mark, it’s nor­mal. You have beau­ti­ful things, and you just keep them. You don’t throw them out.” >

If you step OUT­SIDE of your TRIBE, you’re more likely to FIND dif­fer­ent PER­SPEC­TIVES and ideas to what you oth­er­wise would.


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