Second Home, the creative co-working community space in London, is bursting with personality because co-founder Sam Aldenton is frustrated that “so much of the built environment is bland and generic, particularly offices”
Neon pink carpets, vibrant yellow staircases and full-sized fig trees, Second Home is a creative playground for entrepreneurs.
Previously Aldenton set up one of the pioneering co-working spaces in London that had its very own rooftop allotment. “We have responsibility to do something different” Aldenton says, and different it is: Everywhere you look, tropical plants are subtly devouring asymmetric desks, bubbles foam across glass rooves (which also act as an innovative roof insulation) and glass polygon pods are scattered haphazardly across a floor which is the colour of orange sherbet.
Hydroponic plants and curvy acrylic walls make this an innovative, aesthetically-mesmerising and enjoyable workspace. What’s appealing about the furniture is that it is bright, comfortable and innovative.
Spanish architects SelgasCano helped to create this buoyant hive of activity by keeping collaborative workspaces at the heart of their design. Thanks to wi-fi and the ‘cloud’, modern technology enables members to work throughout the building. There is a roaming zone, hanging garden, studio, café and crèche to meet co-Founder Rohan Silva’s aim to make Second Home the “most family-friendly working environment in the city.”
There are bottle-warming facilities, buggy parking and the floors are made of recycled car tyres. Smaller companies don’t offer the same childcare schemes which can be a “big barrier to female entrepreneurship” says Aldenton who is a father of one. Silva agrees: “the city makes it really hard to be an entrepreneur and a parent.” Silva, who previously worked as the Special Advisor to David Cameron, has made it normal to bring your child to a meeting. For anyone thinking that bring-your-baby-to-work might hinder business growth, think again: teams based at Second Home have grown 10 times faster than the national average and 75% have collaborated with other members on site.
Members include corporate giants Volkswagen and KPMG who work alongside smaller tech startups and non-profits. It is this free - roaming cornucopia of business-bodies really brings Aldenton and Silva’s philosophy of “community and collaboration” to the forefront of office design. Additional perks include yoga classes, fitness boot camps and 15% off Apple products – unsurprisingly, there is a waiting list to join.