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Coworking spaces: a new lease on life for historical architecture

A former grain exchange is now CoCo Minneapolis.

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Lawomatic, Paris: industrial laundry turned idyllic coworking space 

Lawomatic is a former industrial laundry that was converted into a coworking space of 200 square meters, with 30 desks spread over two levels, in 2011. It is located in a lovely courtyard of the Quartier Sainte-Marthe in Paris, a former working-class neighborhood that housed workers including Baron Hausmann, the French civic planner who is most responsible for the rebuilding of Paris in the 1860s.

The area still retains its charming, gently sloping streets that are lined with artist studios. Lawomatic, situated in this idyllic location, now houses local and international coworkers, who are all residents there for at least 2 months, and have various occupations from architecture to design and journalism. They usually work as freelancers or consist of tiny companies with a maximum of three employees.

At 350 Euros per month, users can expect services that include a permanent desk, 24-hour access, kitchen use and free wifi.

Busworks, London: from working buses to enterprising coworkers

Founded over 30 years ago in London, The Busworks Company has converted this former bus-making factory into an office environment where entrepreneurs and innovators can gather.

It originated as a Victorian bus factory in 1888, but has had many different personas throughout its lifetime. After the First World War, the bus factory continued to be a repair depot for buses until the 1950s.

After that, the building was split into two – with the part that is now called Omnibus being used as a steel plating works until 1979. This is where architect Philip Lancashire and his business partner Gillian Harwood refurbished the place, one area at a time, eventually to become workspaces for small businesses.

In the three separate buildings that now form Busworks, each one houses a wide range of units for small businesses that range from two and 50 people. One can enjoy all-inclusive business-friendly services, including on-site parking, 24 hour access, meeting rooms and friendly communal areas.

The Entreprenörskyrkan(Entrepreneurs Church), Stockholm: a holy space for creativity

This former Swedish Greek Orthodox Church in the city of Stockholm, Sweden was once a holy sanctuary for devotees, but now a sacred place of another sort: a multifunctional coworking space where entrepreneurs can start reaching for truly divine heights.

The Entreprenörskyrkan (Entrepreneurs Church), hosts 300 square meters of open plan office space with two conference rooms, a telephone room and a small kitchen. For around 430 Euros a month, startups receive everything from basic utilities to furniture, wireless broadband and a collaborative environment that sparks creativity and innovation, where coworkers can have fun and play with ideas. The church currently houses 15 companies but there is room for about 30 office slots altogether.

Entreprenörskyrkan was originally founded out of necessity by Gustav Nisser, Jesper Lindmarker, Jesper Lejfjord and Petra Jonsson. All four, founders of their own respective startups, were looking for office space in Stockholm at the same time and found the former church. The sheer size of the church prompted the group to convert the premises into a coworking space, which then gave birth to Stockholm’s new center for entrepreneurship.

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