When you walk through those Spaces doors, anywhere in the world, you immediately get that homey feeling created by the inviting seatings, the European design and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes this dynamic workspace work. But what is it exactly that makes this concept so successful? What’s the secret formula? It’s high time we have a sit down with these two classy ladies of the Spaces Team Concept & Interior, Birke (left) and Jeske (right), who live and breathe the Spaces look and feel.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Birke (21): ‘I started as an intern here at Spaces about two years ago. I was interning for 6 months during my studies at the Artemis Academy, where I studied Styling and Design for interior, fashion and media. I never stopped working for Spaces and between my internship and my fulltime position, I worked freelance as a Set Up Stylist for international Spaces locations. Today it’s been two years already and counting.’
Jeske (34): ‘I studied at the Hotelschool and after graduation I went travelling. When I came back, I had no clue what the next step would be, but I remember biking along the Amsterdam canals and spotting a Spaces building for the first time. I saw people standing outside, in front of it. The exterior of the building immediately grabbed my attention, so I decided to check it out. Before I knew it, I was their new All-round Operations Manager and learned everything there was to know about the company and the brand. I witnessed Spaces grow from just one location in Amsterdam to over 350 locations worldwide. After 5 years at Spaces, the company became part of the company IWG and therefore it was important to have someone responsible for the Spaces concept, globally. And that person was me. I’ve been working here for 10 years now.’
So, Jeske, you sort of created this new role?
Jeske: ‘Yes, this role didn’t exist before Spaces became a part of IWG, but considering Spaces was going overseas and slowly but surely conquering the globe, it was important to integrate the two companies (Spaces and IWG), while standardising and maintaining the Spaces vibe. And since I had the all-round experience – from IT installations and customer service to meeting rooms sales and operational work – I’d pretty much seen it all. You could say I’m the link between operations and design.’
How would you describe the Spaces look and feel in three words?
Jeske: ‘Nordic, European design. Clean and homey.’
How do you manage to style every Spaces location on brand – across the world?
Jeske: ‘The standardisation helps us to realize the same Spaces look and feel at every Spaces location, but it’s a challenge.’
Birke: ‘We try to see every location in the Netherlands as a concept store.’
Jeske: ‘Yes, based on that, we roll out the standardisation for the other countries. We have a design book for all the architects we work with. For the interior design we work with around 40 different design agencies worldwide. We also hire interior stylists to set up the decorations. They are being trained by us. Per example, according to our design book, certain decoration items are standardly placed within all the Spaces meeting rooms, but the rest of the styling we leave to the interior stylists. They have a specific eye for detail – we see this as a true profession. This way, alongside our on-brand standardisation, we can still give every location its unique and personal touch.’
What are some of your favourite styled Spaces locations?
Jeske: ‘Spaces Vijzelstraat in Amsterdam, and Spaces Cours Valmy in La Défense in Paris.’
Birke: ‘I’d say Spaces Marszalkowska in Warsaw, Poland. But I’m a little biased, because I did the styling and implementation of the decorations myself’, she says while smiling. ‘But I would say this location is on point and has Spaces written all over.’
What can styling do for a person’s wellbeing or state of mind?
Jeske: ‘It can be inspiring and comforting.’
Birke: ‘The design can facilitate and create interaction between people, make them connect.’
How do you reflect the community in the interior design?
Jeske: The interior design revolves around the community. This is reflected even in the seating, with tables designed to encourage strangers to sit together and interact. Our Dutch offices were initially designed by Sevil Peach, who also designed some of the furniture we have. We don’t have to push people to connect, the interior design does that for us.’
What is a typical interior styling element of Spaces?
Jeske: ‘Our reception counter is almost never in front of the entrance. You’ll always find it on the side, right next to the ‘red’ carpet. There also aren’t any entrance gates you have to walk through – we want to make everyone feel welcome and right at home.’
What is still on your bucket list – when it comes to styling for Spaces?
Both: ‘Our very own Spaces decoration line!’
What’s the best piece of advice you have for the amateur stylists among us?
Jeske: ‘Make sure everything comes together. So everything you see and feel should fit the same style.’
Birke: ‘The styling can have a personal touch, but you really have to listen to what a company seeks. Standardisation within a business is very important. A stylist can be innovative and original, but he or she always needs to follow the styling of the design book.’
Curious about that Spaces look and feel? We feel you. Find the locations near you and experience yourself what Spaces can do for you.