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Coworking Aperitivo: Spaces in Milan

Talent Garden, a coworking space in Milan

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Intimate, vast, directly next to the train station and located in the design district, which is fashion oriented, specialized in start-up digital marketing, music and graphic arts, is where you will find the best of Milan's coworking spaces. These havens for coworkers have grown steadily since the end of the past decade, and offer a wide spectrum of environments and specific professional niches. In our quest to portray the diversity and richness of this fermenting aspect of the work-market we visited five extremely different spaces in order to give you a taste of the Italian coworking appetizer (or in Milanese, an aperitivo).

Whether your priority is location, or a certain professional field, there are a number of incredibly diverse workplaces available to choose from. We do not define this article to be a complete or top-priority list, but rather as a sample of the type of spaces you can expect to find more of, especially if you are in need of a coworking space in Milan.

The typology of coworking environments is often marked by a specific organizational and general concept, such as being part of a larger network of satellite working spaces around the city or in the world, as can be the case with spaces that carry the "Coworking Project" (or "CoWo") trademark, as well as the Talent Gardens. Yet in other situations, the space is thought of as an integrated part of a bigger structure or "factory", with extensions leading into exhibiting art studios and live musical performance, as is the case with Santeria.

Coworking in the Central Station: Cowo Via Zezon

If you are in Milan for a limited time, or if you are in need of a comfortable space from where you can quickly reach other cities by train or by plane, Via Zezon is the right place for you. Those acquainted with commuting in Italy know how important being near a train station can be. The space is within walking distance from the Central Station, and when you arrive, architect Lucilla Magliulo will greet you at the door.

Via Zezon is found in an elegant antique apartment with 4 working stations for “resident” workers, 2-3 stations available for temporary guests, a cozy conference room, and a large terrace, which is in the processes of being furnished for outdoor spaces when the weather is right. The space is open to suggestions for the booking of special events, and has been open to coworking since November 2012 under the group “Cowo”.

“A positive example of the flexibility you can find here is that of a photographer who comes in often to use our conference room. He shows up some 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment and replaces our pictures on the wall with his own photographs. This allows for him to feel more at home when discussing with clients,” Magliulo told Deskmag. The founder of Zezon also specializes in the design of workspaces and offices, thus she explained, “throughout our work experience, we have discovered that Italian workplaces are often marked by excessive hierarchy, long corridors, and coffee spaces without enough aggregation points."

Magliulo continued to explain how the formal Italin workplace took away the potential found with in the creative process and discussed the ways in which she and her team tap into innovative ways to look at a space. "GMA-network, the professional team I am myself part of, explores coworking as well as other innovative aspects of architectural planning of workspaces. A key to this is the ability to reconfigure, through furniture and mobile elements, the office space for the day-to-day needs. The supplies of elements such as a whiteboard, or a hospitable area in which to have a coffee are details that complete a better working environment.” 

In Milan’s Central Industrial Area: Talent Garden Milano

Located further outside of the Central Station, just a couple of metro stops North, is an impressive new coworking space, which is marked by a bold design, and extensive work stations. The three-story coworking masterpiece used to belong to the SMAUtechnological fairs over two decades ago.

A network of its own, Talent Garden opened its first space in Brescia over a year ago and has since grown. They opened spaces in Bergamo, Turin, Padua, and Milan, which were inaugurated in December 2012, and they are currently seeking to open offices in Genoa, Bologna, and Pisa. A team of young professionals brought the idea forth, and co-founder Marcello Merlo kindly arranged our visit. The professional fields that TAG mainly focuses on are: start-ups, programming, design, and digital marketing.

You will be welcomed into TAG by head-of-campus Elena Gambio, or one of her colleagues, and will soon enough find yourself in a world of eccentric recycled cardboard-design furniture (for example the i-desks and phone conversation booths designed by Kube Studio) and state-of-the-art security and access technology. Gambio explained, “Once you have a fixed workspace here, you will receive your own badge. In a control panel at the entrance, you can easily operate your power sources and are guaranteed 24-hour access. We know how essential it is for our members, especially in view of upcoming work deliveries, to be able to work around the clock. Innovative start-ups like Uber, Cibando, Vivocha, and Tannico are just a few of the companies that have emerged within our workspaces.”

As a TAG member, the different city locations are available to you. The space also opens its doors to many events and recently hosted Coderdojo, Designjam, as well as fashion and photo-shoots. Buonenotizie and Talentdonna are another example of positive initiatives aimed at creating social and professional improvement, the second of which focuses on the professional placement and aspects concerning the female workforce. “We are considered maybe Europe’s largest coworking space. Now we are preparing for the summer, and with a 700 sq. meter terrace, we have considered throwing a beach party!”

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