This massive future-shaped cube may be the first co-working megaplex, designed to provide both workplace and sleeping quarters to the mobile creative class of tomorrow. Concept art and blueprints for the towering hotel/office hybrid from a mysterious company called Spacious surfaced on the web this week—I found it, notably, through a tongue-in-cheek tweet from Buzzfeed's Caroline O'Donovan.
Yes, it looks a bit like a cross between an Apple Store and the Borg, and yes, it's to be made of shipping containers with assurances that an eye is being made to sustainability. But the most interesting thing, I think, is the vision it posits for the future of work—from the looks of its materials, Spacious is imagining a continued uptick in the flexible (or precarious) workforce, and the number of people who are able to and desirous of the ability to work anywhere, at anytime.
The combined sleeping quarters and work stations do sort of conjure images of Shenzen-like conditions, where all-day workers sleep onsite in dormitories. In fact, some tech journalists thought it must be parody—but Spacious CEO Preston Pesek assures me it's not."We're very real," he told me in an email. He declined to give out any more details until the first Spacious center was announced, which, apparently, isn't far off, and only responded with the following:"Our goal is to provide guests with a safe and comfortable way to only pay for the space we need, and only for the time that we actually need it," Pesek said. "Our first location is imminent, but it's still premature to disclose any further details."
Here's how it works, according to the website, which is all we've got to go on for now:
- Guests only pay for the space they need, and only for the time that they need it.
- As a hotel guest, you can opt-in to get a discount for letting others use your room as a conference meeting space during business hours.
- Hideaway beds turn into office workstations, and lockable storage makes it comfortable, seamless, and safe.
- Coworking members get private offices on demand, plus in-house coffee, meals and hotel amenities.
- Anyone can drop-in and book spaces by the hour, or just hang out in the atrium lobby for refreshments, meetups, and free wifi.
Whether or not all this sounds like a utopia of shared space and networking opportunities or a dystopia of never-ending toil and cramped quarters depends, I guess, on how you feel about the brave New Economy, the acceleration of work, and the rise of the hyperconnected, informal labor market.