After two days of talking intensely about coworking spaces and their potential, participants took the opportunity on day 3 of the European Coworking Conference to visit a series of spaces across Milano.
Split up into groups, our tour took in four spaces in the northern district of Milano, which is moving on from its previous industrial past and reinventing itself as a hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The first stop on the journey was Unità di Produzione space, on Via Cesalpino, 7. Measuring up at 430 sqm, it was the smallest space on our tour, but perhaps the most stylish. Run by a practicing architect, and inhabited by anthropologists, designers and surveyors, the 20 people currently in the space often find themselves working together on projects on a day-by-day basis, and believe that the cross fertilization of ideas from each of their disciplines helps to bring perspective to the work they produce for their clients.
After a fleeting walk westwards, we found ourselves at Coworking Login (pictured top), which measures up at 1,500 sqm, with 200 people working out of this location. Offering desks at €100 per month, this enterprise is led by Enter, an Internet Service Provider in Italy since 1996. Coworking is not central to their business model, and does not contribute a huge amount to their bottom line. However, the interchange of ideas between its employees (around 45 in total) and other occupiers of the space, helps Enter to innovate and retain a dynamism that some tech companies lose after almost 20 years of operation. Interestingly, and perhaps uniquely for Milano, the Coworking Login is partered with “WeMake”, a makers space over the road, which provides its members with access to 3D printers, laser guided machinery and various other sophisticated technologies. Perhaps this is a model that will become more popular in the years to come?
Having boarded Milan’s extremely efficient metro system, the group visited Talent Garden Milano Merano. On the first day of the conference, we heard a fascinating presentation from Talent Garden about their business model, and looked forward to seeing it in action.
First thing to note about Talent Garden, is they have clarity on their theme and have executed it extremely successfully. There was significant reference to the “garden” aspect of the site throughout. Essentially, talent is given to the space to grow and flourish. Their partnerships with IBM and Red Bull were also prominent which caused a bit of debate among the group as to whether this compromised the value of the space or not. However, Talent Garden’s success is unarguable. Having successfully executed a 1,500 sqm space in the northern part of Milano, Talent Garden is on the up, with a recently opened 8,500 sqm space in the south of the city. Around 600 people now work out of Talent Garden spaces in Milan, and there is clearly more to come.
Our last visit of the tour brought us close to Milano Centrale station, in the form of StartMiUp, on via Copernico, 38. In the basement of an 8 storey office block run by Copernico, StartMiUp is a 500 sqm space hosting around 100 people across a range of different sectors. StartMiUp run the 500 sqm space, but do not have ownership of it. Again, there were mixed views on this, although the hosts argued they could focus on curating and supporting their communities, rather than having to deal with often time consuming real estate issues. In their view, the benefits extend beyond that, as the interaction between the companies in the coworking space, and the businesses within the service office space brought business to the former, a