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An Rong Xu for The New York Times
In a federal complaint, a former chief of staff to Mr. Neumann said she was demoted twice after she became pregnant.

When the chief of staff to the WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann became pregnant in March 2016, she was reluctant to share the news with her boss right away.

But ultimately, the employee, Medina Bardhi, felt she had no choice. She had to explain that she could no longer accompany Mr. Neumann on business trips “due to his penchant for bringing marijuana on chartered flights and smoking it throughout the flight while in an enclosed cabin,” according to a complaint she filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in New York on Thursday.

What followed, the complaint said, was a pattern of discrimination, as Ms. Bardhi was repeatedly derided and marginalized by Mr. Neumann and other WeWork officials. Mr. Neumann referred to her maternity leave as a “vacation” or “retirement,” according to the complaint, and another high-level company official, Jennifer Berrent, commented, “Wow, you’re getting big,” in front of a WeWork executive.

Mr. Neumann, who had promised to champion women at WeWork, stepped down as the company’s chief executive in September as its attempted initial public offering collapsed in dramatic fashion. As part of a deal to turn over control of WeWork to its largest outside investor, SoftBank, he received $185 million to work as a consultant to the company for four years.

Over the last year, other women, including a senior executive, have filed lawsuits accusing WeWork of gender discrimination. Their complaints have added to the storm of criticism WeWork and Mr. Neumann have faced from bankers, analysts and current and former employees since the attempt to go public failed. Mr. Neumann’s leadership has come under particularly intense scrutiny: He has been criticized for maintaining a lavish lifestyle and giving outsize power to family members, including his wife, Rebekah.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Neumann declined to comment, referring questions to WeWork. In a statement, a WeWork spokeswoman, Gwen Rocco, said the company “intends to vigorously defend itself against” the complaint.

“We have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Ms. Rocco said. “We are committed to moving the company forward and building a company and culture that our employees can be proud of.”

During her five years at WeWork, Ms. Bardhi became pregnant twice and was demoted both times, the complaint said. She was fired in early October, shortly after Mr. Neumann left, according to the complaint. Company executives told her that “there was no longer a role for her after Mr. Neumann’s departure,” the complaint said.

“This assertion and supposed justification rings hollow, as Ms. Bardhi already had been pushed out of Mr. Neumann’s office,” the complaint said. “It is clear that Ms. Bardhi’s firing was motivated by the Company’s sustained discriminatory bias and retaliatory animus against her and other female employees who become pregnant, take maternity leave, and/or complain about gender-based discrimination.”

The complaint also said that WeWork had a broader culture of abuse and disrespect toward women — a work environment in which excessive alcohol consumption fueled “offensive sexual conduct” and women were routinely paid less than male colleagues with similar jobs.

Ms. Bardhi’s lawyer, Douglas Wigdor, said he hoped that the E.E.O.C. would view her experiences as part of a systemic problem at the company and bring class-action charges against WeWork.

The discrimination Ms. Bardhi faced began before she even started at WeWork, the complaint said. During a job interview in October 2013, Mr. Neumann “unlawfully and intrusively” asked Ms. Bardhi whether she planned to get married or become pregnant — a question that left her “stunned and uncomfortable,” according to the complaint.

When Ms. Bardhi became pregnant three years later, the complaint said, Mr. Neumann replaced her with a male employee who was paid more than twice as much.

Then, rather than restoring her to the job of chief of staff when she returned from maternity leave, the complaint said, the company gave her no clear direction on her day-to-day responsibilities.

Eventually, she got the job back, the complaint said. But when she became pregnant a second time in February 2018, the cycle repeated — a male employee was hired to replace her, and she found herself sidelined wh
Zero Hedge
How's this for trenchant financial analysis from Bill Ackman, one of the boldest bold-faced names in the hedge fund business: SoftBank might end up writing down the entirety of its WeWork investment (including the $6 billion it just shelled out to wrest control of the firm away from Adam Neumann and his family).

Of course, that's not exactly a cutting-edge call. WeWork's unmatched fall from grace in August and September, which culminated with the shelving of its IPO and the collapse of a $6 billion JPM-led syndicated loan lifeline that was contingent on the offering, the company's situation has gone from bad to worse. The company has been forced to put off a planned round of lease-signings and expansions, including possibly moving its headquarters to Manhattan's Lord & Taylor Building, where the company holds an overpriced lease despite its former CEO owning a piece of the building. On the operations end, its business in China is bleeding capital, and the company has nearly $60 billion in long-term lease commitments, a number that is looking more daunting by the day.

And exactly how confident is Ackman? Pretty confident, he say.

"I think WeWork has a pretty high probability of being a zero for the equity, as well as for the debt," the billionaire hedge fund manager said.

Ackman described Neumann as an amazing salesman (clearly, it takes a gifted charlatan to separate Masayoshi Son from his money), but that the company had become "enormously levered" too soon.

And speaking from experience, he warned SoftBank about continuing to throw good money after bad.
Zero Hedge
The whole WeWork scheme is unraveling in realtime, and a new Financial Times (FT) report shows the epicenter of the implosion is in China.

The Chinese subsidiary of WeWork, valued at $5 billion in 2018, could be headed to zero in the quarters ahead. Why?

Well, sources have told FT that WeWork locations in China have been severely underperforming, to the extent that occupancy levels are absolutely disturbing.

"WeWork locations in Shanghai, where it has installed 43,600 desks, had a vacancy rate of 35.7% in October. In Shenzhen, where the company has 8,000 desks, 65.3% were vacant, while 22.1% of the group's 8,900 desks in Hong Kong sat unfilled. The company was also expanding in central China, with multiple offices in Xi'an. There, it suffered a vacancy rate of 78.5%."

Sources also said it's likely that WeWork will wind down operations in China in the coming quarters.

Earlier this week, we documented how the company is planning to cut as many as 4,000 jobs as part of an aggressive turnaround plan put in place by Japan's SoftBank after it took control of the shared office space company this week.

The SoftBank led turnaround is basically the bank throwing more good money into a black hole, in the attempt to raise occupancy rates above 90%.

As macroeconomic headwinds soar across the world, the ability for WeWork to survive in the next global recession is becoming unlikely.

WeWork's explosive push into emerging markets is one of the reasons the company is suffering. Management, definitely not keen on business cycles, over expanded in regions that are getting absolutely clobbered in the global synchronized slowdown. Some of these areas aren't just in China, but also in other parts of Asia and South America.

Several property groups in China told FT that WeWork operates out of 120 buildings in the country.

"There has been a lot of speculative office development [in China] and there is a high vacancy rate compared to Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo," said Jonathan Wright, head of shared workspaces in Asia for Colliers, a real estate company.

Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, said many of the Chinese cities WeWork expanded into in the last several years are currently seeing collapsing occupancy levels.

"Overall office leasing demand has recently softened in mainland China . . . [with] a general cost-saving strategy adopted by most tenants given ongoing trade tensions and economic growth slowdown," said Catherine Chen, a researcher with Cushman.

So the problem with WeWork is that it overexpanded in emerging markets, like China, when central banks injected trillions of dollars into the global economy at around 2016. Explosive credit creation by central banks around the world led to a powerful upswing in the global economy where WeWork looked like geniuses in 2017/18. But it was only when the artificial cycle started to turn, the world caught a cold and entered a synchronized global downturn in late 2018, where emerging markets were slaughtered, and anything WeWork built was turned into a non-preforming asset overnight.

WeWork has entered the restructuring stage, which means if it wants to survive the incoming global trade recession, it must cut its China subsidiary and the rest of its emerging markets portfolio or face bankruptcy. If WeWork folds in 2020, so could SoftBank...
Bloomberg and AP
At a WeWork executive offsite meeting last year, Adam Neumann tried to fire up his lieutenants by invoking the company’s largest benefactor, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son. Neumann pointed to Son’s audacious goal for WeWork: a $1 trillion valuation. WeWork could get there, Neumann said, by thinking bigger.

The eye-popping target was typical for both Neumann and Son, who shared a belief in raising the stakes and zealous salesmanship. Their symbiotic relationship helped fuel WeWork’s meteoric growth into one of the world’s most richly valued startups. But Son’s own fervor also fed some of Neumann’s worst impulses, including a rush to open new co-working locations without regard to the company’s bottom line. SoftBank also funded areas that distracted the company from its core business, such as expansion in China.

Now, both sides have been humiliated. SoftBank is injecting $6.5 billion of new equity and debt, and will end up with 80% of the ownership in a deal that values WeWork at about $8 billion, a stunning fall from the $47 billion level at which SoftBank last invested in January. Neumann, who became a running joke on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley amid revelations about his personal antics and the collapse of WeWork’s long-planned IPO, is stepping down from WeWork’s board.

SoftBank, its credibility damaged, now faces the daunting task of trying to turn around one of the world’s largest real estate firms without having much of a track record in the industry.

John Arenas, who previously helped restructure a co-working company as president of Regus 15 years ago, said SoftBank will have to demonstrate that WeWork has a viable path to profitability. “There is no room for half measures,” said Arenas, who is now CEO of WeWork competitor Serendipity Labs. He added that WeWork “will have to find a way to live out its life as a mortal, and not a magical creature.”

Notably, SoftBank asserted that it won’t formally control WeWork because it does not have majority voting rights. That means WeWork will be an “associate,” not a subsidiary. That presumably means SoftBank won’t have to consolidate WeWork’s losses as part of its results.

This article is based on interviews with a dozen current and former WeWork leaders and people close to SoftBank. SoftBank declined to comment for this article, and WeWork didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Overhaul Expected

SoftBank’s initial moves are likely to be painful for WeWork’s several thousand remaining employees, as the new owner looks to strip down and turn around the co-working giant.

SoftBank’s first act as the new majority owner of WeWork was to further enrich Neumann, buying nearly $1 billion of his stock in exchange for control of the company, while lending him money to pay back another loan and paying him nearly $200 million in a “consulting fee,” according to multiple media reports.

The Japanese conglomerate also will have to decide who is in charge. Marcelo Claure, one of Son’s lieutenants who ran Sprint when SoftBank took control of the telecom company, will be named WeWork’s executive chairman. WeWork is currently led by co-CEOs Sebastian Gunningham and Artie Minson, both of whom were Neumann’s deputies.

Claure, who is expected to look for a new CEO, was already known for his exacting business calculus inside WeWork. The co-working company last year tried to sell office design and development services to Sprint, which Claure was running at the time. Claure posed tough questions about the deal’s terms to WeWork leaders, making the transaction harder to close than expected.

Whoever ends up at the helm of WeWork will have to grapple with SoftBank’s inexperience running a real estate firm. JPMorgan Chase, a WeWork lender that proposed an alternative deal to WeWork's board, might have included real estate private equity group Starwood Capital as a primary investor. That could have given WeWork more real estate expertise. But that deal also likely would have also saddled WeWork with strict debt repayment terms and cut its valuation even further.

Mutual Gains

When SoftBank first invested in WeWork in 2017, the close relationship between Son and Neumann was fruitful for both sides. SoftBank pumped more than $10 billion into the startup over a two-year span, enriching Neumann and other
Second Home
A sea of canary yellow office pods is taking shape on a dusty lot off of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. There, Spanish architects Selgascano and global co-working platform Second Home are busy finishing out the group’s new 90,000-square-foot Hollywood outpost, a mesmerizing construction site brimming with unusual architecture.

While touring the site, Second Home co-founder Rohan Silva explains the basic premise behind the budding social-business venture: “We want to put creative people together and help them do great work.”

That vision guides the architectural design of the complex as well as the company’s business plan. The site, arranged in two opposing configurations, mixes old and new, formal and ecstatic, staid and colorful. At the front of the complex, for example, an existing 1960s-era Paul Revere Williams-designed building that once housed a local chapter of the Assistance League of Southern California is being repurposed into a collection of ground floor community arts spaces. Anchored by a central courtyard that will be stuffed with trees, the venue’s generous and highly-adaptable peripheral spaces are designed to have multiple activities going on at once and to function across the day and night. The group plans to have these shared spaces open to the community on a walk-in basis, a configuration at odds with many of the other recently-opened or on-the-way membership-based arts clubs in the area. The building is set to contain a small theater, recording studio, restaurant, bookshop, and other event spaces on this level, with professional meeting spaces here available for use by community groups free of charge.

Silva and his partner and co-CEO Sam Aldenton explain the project as a venture fueled by a mix of alchemy and hope, a place, like other projects the two have worked on independently, that will become vital the second it comes online. How will that happen, exactly? Through heavy use, of course. Aldenton explains that the major challenge of the project is making the spaces available to as many people for as long as possible. “How do we get the most out of the building?” Aldenton asks, “If we can find a way to activate the building for 18 to 20 hours per day, that’s a great thing.”

To create the necessary revenue stream that will fuel the enterprise, Second Home will offer 30 interior studios on the second floor of the Revere-Williams building, spaces designed with minimal enclosures and direct access to a series of new rooftop terraces. Eventually, the roofdeck will run directly into the space, creating an indoor-outdoor working environment overlooking a sea of yellow-roofed office pods.

The impossibly bright single-story pods, organized in tight clusters all around the back half of the site, contain 60 individual offices outfitted with wrap-around desk seating, central meeting tables, and clear-span interiors. The pods represent the first use of cross-laminated timber in California, according to the architects, a material choice that allows for each office to offer uninterrupted interior space. Each pod will be partially submerged by a raised bed, as well, a configuration that will cut down on heating and cooling requirements while also providing a type of inverted open-office arrangement where each workstation faces outward toward a wall of lush plants.

Aldenton explains that the site will feature 6,500 trees and plants, an impossible number based on the size of the relatively small lot. Renderings for the project depict palm trees and ferns bursting between the office pods, hanging plants cascading from the ceilings, and an orchards’ worth of flowering trees growing out of formica tabletops in the courtyard and other outdoor spaces.

The project, nearly completed and due to open in early September, is not the only public arts-focused venture Second Home and Selgascano have in store for Los Angeles, however.
The Coven
Measuring the impact of The Wing, WeWork, the Coven, and other spaces selling a better workspace

As coworking continues to grow and expand—industry giant WeWork is in the midst of planning for an IPO and social clubs like The Wing double as work and networking spaces—selling community has become a big business.

By definition, the appeal of coworking is about community, something more personal than the office cubicle, and less haphazard than a table at a coffee shop. As Curbed’s Diana Budds wrote, “coworking spaces have always emphasized ‘community’ wielding the word in an ambiguous and increasingly meaningless way to hint at an informal camaraderie.”

But increasingly, these for-profit enterprises—which, in many cases, are charging significant membership fees in excess of $200 a month, often a large expense for those most in need of inclusive spaces—are trying to tap into the value of truly building more diverse, equitable, and uplifting communities. Community is something that everybody can claim. But can these new office spaces, especially ones with an implicitly feminist mission, actually improve access to opportunity and upward mobility by tackling the inequality uncovered by corporate diversity reports? Or are these promises of community simply a new addition to the “we hustle harder and do better” sales pitch?

“I truly believe femme forward isn’t just a moment we’re having with #MeToo and Time’s Up, isn’t just a flash in a pan,” says Alex Steinman, co-founder and CEO of Minneapolis-based, female-focused coworking space The Coven. “This is a real movement that will lead to something bigger, brighter, a more femme-forward economy, and we’re already seeing that shift and that change. We see all these coworking spaces popping up that are femme forward as good news. We want other such spaces to open because we can’t do this work alone. We don’t talk about them as competitors, we talk about them as comparable businesses. I don’t think it’s tiring, or, like, pinkwashing razors or pens.”

Increasing access to opportunity

When Steinman began formulating the vision for a new business with her three cofounders, coworking wasn’t necessarily the end goal.

Steinman, along with fellow advertising industry veterans Bethany Iverson, Liz Giel, and Erinn Farrell, had banded together around the vision of diversity, but were sobered by the reality of the slow pace of change. After collaborating on diversity initiatives in the advertising industry, and regularly gathering hundreds of colleagues and coworkers to discuss gender equity and the pay gap—they were part of a group called Minneapolis MadWomen, named after the TV show—they became frustrated that their ideals didn’t necessarily translate into increased funding for the kind of support and training that helps marginalized groups like women and people of color move up the career ladder.

“We weren’t seeing the investment we wanted, so we decided to create the world we wanted,” Steinman tells Curbed. “As a woman of color myself, as you start to awaken to the inequalities happening to you and your counterparts, and you can’t unsee them. You have to do something about it, or just ignore it. I can’t just live and let live.”

They initially expected they’d create a nonprofit community space. But after interviewing more than 100 area women about what they wanted and what they needed, they arrived at The Coven, a 5,000-foot space that opened last year offering “coffee shop-style coworking.” The audience they wanted to serve needed a space for freelance work, and an area to grow their side hustle, as Steinman puts it. Those looking to start their own businesses can come to the Coven to find support and encouragement. It’s a “hive mind” that can help them weather the storms of working for themselves.

Selling a more equitable community

Both the Coven and The Wing see providing free membership to disadvantaged groups as perhaps the most direct way to shape and improve the community. By helping more women tap into the network effect of bringing people together as a way to increase opportunity and diversity, informal meetings and shared spaces beget change, and access begets advancement.

The Coven has provided 137 community-funded memberships, roughly 20 percent of the company’s roughly 500 total memberships since the company opened last year. Applicants fill out a quick application, asking which
Boston Properties
A sprawling, state of the art office complex at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is the latest battleground in the real estate wars.

In the fight for the future of the real estate industry, legacy firms are trying to figure out how to contend with WeWork. The beer-loving co-working startup that landlords once welcomed has grown into something much more complicated and powerful, in part through technology. The company has developed both consumer facing tech, like an app for booking conference rooms and checking out events in its co-working spaces, as well as operational analytics that makes its offices and overall business more efficient.

But at Dock 72, an innovative new building in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard where WeWork’s custom co-working offices and Rise by We fitness studio will soon fill a third of the square footage, landlords are claiming a small victory. The building, co-owned by Boston Properties and Rudin Management, has its own tech. Rudin’s technology subsidiary, Prescriptive Data, has developed a mobile app to serve as tenants’ main portal for interacting with the building.

The Dock 72 app will allow tenants and their employees to enter the building, register guests, book fitness classes at the in-house studio, order and pay for food at the cafeteria, book shared conference rooms, and submit work orders for maintenance issues. Data from the app will also provide the property’s operators and managers with real-time insights into the patterns of users, helping to improve building services and performance. With the app, Michael Rudin, senior vice president of Rudin Management Company, says he wants the building to be cashless.

For a long time, the real estate industry collectively slept on technology adoption, but the success of WeWork and Airbnb has been a blaring wakeup call.
Dave Burk/courtesy The We Company
There’s no membership required at We Company’s new retail space, where visitors can rent desks and conference rooms–and browse products by member companies.

The newly rebranded We Company (formerly known as WeWork) is the biggest private office tenant in Manhattan. But those spaces are primarily for members only, who pay up to $750 per month for a permanent desk at one of the 59 WeWorks across the city. Globally, the company has some 400,000 members at 400 locations.

But this week, We Company opened a new kind of space in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood–one that’s entirely open to the public. It’s a retail store-cum-cafe-cum-coworking space, where you can buy products made by WeWork member companies, grab a bite to eat, and reserve a desk or a conference room by the minute.

The space, called Made by We, looks like a cross between a hip college library, a coffee shop, and a cutesy gift store: One entire wall is dedicated to showing off member companies’ products, which include laptop cases, reusable water bottles, and handmade cards. It’s similar to the four small stores We Company operates within some of its office spaces that also sell member companies’ products, but this is the first one that’s open to the public.

Made by We’s 96 desks are rentable for at least 30 minutes, starting at $6, which you can reserve online. After your 30 minutes are up, they cost $.20 a minute. You can also book an entire day, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., for $65. That’s definitely more expensive than parking yourself at a Starbucks and buying a tea so you can use the Wi-Fi, though you won’t have to pray for a power outlet near your seat.

You can also book a conference room for groups of four to 10 people, with prices ranging from $50 an hour to $125 an hour.

The space functions as a place to try out We Company’s main product–its coworking memberships–and reinforce the company’s brand as a hub for creative entrepreneurship by selling member products, like pencil and laptop cases by the brand Dynomighty. This combo makes Made by We similar in ethos to other recent retail concepts like Casper’s The Dreamery, where you can test out the startup’s famed mattress while taking a 40-minute nap. Given We Company’s prevalence in New York City, Made by We could easily be scaled up and implemented across the company’s other ground-floor commercial spaces–if it’s successful.

Will people be willing to pay to sit in a what’s essentially a branded cafe, with some merchandise? In New York, where there’s a coffee shop on every corner, maybe not. But the
Bisnow
The We Company CEO Adam Neumann is also a WeWork landlord in some cases, using money he has made as founder of one of the country's most valuable startups to buy buildings in which WeWork is a tenant.

The arrangement concerns a number of investors in WeWork as a potential conflict of interest, the Wall Street Journal reports. Since gaining effective control of WeWork about five years ago, Neumann has bought an interest in 88 University Place in Manhattan and properties in San Jose, California, all of which lease space to WeWork. According to a prospectus published by WeWork last year, it paid more than $12M in rent to buildings “partially owned by officers” of the company in 2016 and 2017. Such officers stand to make $110M more from those leases before they expire, the prospectus said. That kind of arrangement is regarded as unusual in corporate governance, since it might inspire executives to act in their own interest over that of the company, Fortune reports. WeWork denies any conflict. "WeWork has a review process in place for related party transactions," the company said in a statement. "Those transactions are reviewed and approved by the board, and they are disclosed to investors.” Word of Neumann's landlord status came not long after he unveiled a restructuring of the organization this month. The We Company, which lists Neumann, Miguel McKelvey and Neumann's wife, Rebekah, as founders, is now the umbrella company for three separate branches: WeWork, WeLive and WeGrow. At the same time the restructuring was announced, WeWork closed on a $6B investment from SoftBank, $4B of which had previously been disclosed. The latest SoftBank deal values WeWork at $47B.

Read more at: https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/office/wework-ceo-has-invested-in-buildings-that-lease-space-to-wework-96812?utm_source=CopyShare&utm_medium=Browser
Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle
WeWork has opened offices in San Francisco’s Salesforce Tower — another milestone for a young company that is now the city’s fourth-largest office tenant.

The three-story space in the city’s tallest building isn’t just rented out to clients; it will house a major cluster of WeWork employees, and will share headquarters status with New York, where the company was founded in 2010.

In less than a decade, WeWork has become the world’s largest operator of co-working space. It has transformed real estate around the world by building out shared offices and renting them out to both single-person startups and major companies like Facebook and Bank of America.

WeWork says it now has 1.43 million square feet leased and owned in San Francisco, behind only Salesforce, Wells Fargo and Uber, according to brokerage data. WeWork has almost twice as much space in San Francisco as it did at the end of last year, and also has offices in Berkeley, Emeryville, Mill Valley, Mountain View, Oakland, San Mateo and San Jose.

WeWork arrived in San Francisco in 2011 with a small deal in a century-old six-story building at 156 Second St., just a few blocks from Salesforce Tower.

“The original roots of WeWork in San Francisco are a much more old-school building,” said Jon Slavet, WeWork managing director of U.S. and Canada West. Salesforce Tower “is a bridge to the future of the city,” he said.

The Salesforce Tower location will have around 700 desks, with half occupied by WeWork staff, including an engineering team that will work on building technology systems.

The other half will be co-working space, which is sold out despite having one of the most expensive rates in the world. A single desk is $800 per month and a private office starts at $1,400 per month, according to WeWork’s website.

WeWork will open a fitness club, called Rise by We, along with a coffee shop in the space in the next few months. The company also plans to hold a communal meal each week for co-working customers and employees. WeWork is also planning to host nonprofits in the space, as it does in other locations.

Slavet said WeWork is competitively priced compared with traditional long-term leases.

“Our business is full speed ahead. We continue to have record-breaking months for new members globally,” Slavet said.

Last month, the Japanese conglomerate Softbank agreed to invest $3 billion in WeW
Jason Schmidt and Alexei Hay
The onetime fashion designer took on a role as the coworking company's chief creative officer last year

"WeWork is one of the pioneers of the shift in office space; this idea that you walk in and it doesn’t feel like an office, it feels like a home," says Adam Kimmel, the fashion designer who stepped into the role of chief creative officer at the shared work space start-up in September last year. Considered one of the venture capital "unicorns" of the last decade, the New York–based real-estate concept has now over 400 locations worldwide, offering everyone from individual subscribers to large-scale companies the chance to benefit from their multi-format communal work spaces in urban centers—shared offices that boast stylish, open plan interiors, state-of-the-art communication facilities, and beer on tap.

This week, WeWork will unveil one of its most ambitious projects to date: a new West Coast headquarters situated inside San Francisco’s tallest building, the Pelli Clark Pelli–designed 1,000-foot Salesforce skyscraper, which constitutes 61floors of retail, residential, and commercial real estate. The three-story headquarters includes both WeWork-exclusive offices and subscriber spaces, and it's one of Kimmel’s first projects in his new role—one that, though seemingly unique, gels well with his approach to designing and his passion for fashion and the arts. Throughout his fashion design career, Kimmel constructed complex narratives and installations around his themed menswear collections, tapping into elements of Americana from the Marlboro man to Area 51 and New York casino culture, all while weaving in collaborations (and runway appearances) with artists like George Condo, John Baldessari, and Dennis Hopper. He had shuttered his label in 2012, leaving more time for family and room for his burgeoning connoisseurship in the art, architecture, and design worlds to exponentially increase. “Design and design research are my obsessions,” said Kimmel. “They simply have to be in order for us to innovate.”

Salesforce Tower opened its doors in January 2018, with the first phase of WeWork’s build-out operational this month. “We have three floors of the building that are connected by this large atrium and a monumental staircase that we cozied up with lots of bookcases and nooks," says Kimmel. "It’s a dramatic focal point that looks out over the city—I can’t wait for that part to be open."

The first images of the headquarters reveal a decidedly domestic approach to interior design that softens the dramatic 360-
tvsdesign
Tvsdesign and its clients can analyze furniture in the envelope-pushing Auburn Avenue coworking space

Nestled in the back of a second-story coworking space in historic Sweet Auburn sits the new satellite office of Atlanta-based design firm tvsdesign.

Although the 50-year-old company has a home base established in a few floors of Midtown’s Promenade office tower, tvsdesign architect Richard Macri told Curbed Atlanta, the new location is part of an experiment: What happens when you offer designers and their clients a more intimate setting to do their work?

The project, spearheaded by Macri, is called “Spacelab,” and it aims to give tvsdesign employees a place to basically play around with furniture and other designs from vendors, as well as test out working life in a new part of the city.

It’s an example of an innovative use of space in a section of Atlanta rebounding from years of disinvestment.

Macri said Spacelab 1.0, which opened in July at the Constellations coworking space on Auburn Avenue, is filled entirely with furniture on loan from tvsdesign’s suppliers, save for a few computers and some sit-stand desks.

Tvsdesign’s crew can opt to switch its normal routine by working from Spacelab, and they also have the opportunity to rearrange and review the abundance of modern furniture and lights—a way to acquaint themselves with the products, coworkers, and a new community.

Macri said he believes the Spacelab experiment is the first of its kind for a major design firm. Sure, some boutique companies opt to set up shop in shared office spaces, but having the option of ditching the run-of-the-mill cubicle community in exchange for something with a bit more character could be beneficial for productivity and morale, Macri said.

Sweet Auburn’s Spacelab, Macri said, is the first of at least four spaces that tvsdesign intends to create. Elsewhere, the company’s considering testing out Spacelabs in Buckhead, the Westside, Decatur, and possibly a street-level location near the Midtown office.

In fact, he added, after the Spacelab experiment, tvsdesign could just opt to leave its Midtown digs and set up a collection of smaller offices around Atlanta.

“Should we just grow our satellites and forget the mothership?” he wondered.

But the project isn’t just about benefiting the firm. Macri said he wants each Spacelab “to leave the neighborhood better than we found it.”

Tvsdesign has teamed with Sweet Auburn Works to find a way to give back to the co