Show us a mid-size commercial complex in Koramangala and HSR Layout and we’ll show you a shiny new co-working space, but nothing quite as lustrous as this. WeWork, an international co-working company boasting unbearably hip spaces in New York, Berlin, London and Tel Aviv as well as a whopping $10 billion valuation, is currently polishing the windows and grouting the pool of its first-ever India office, which opens on Residency Road in July. Please shine your Mary Janes and wax your beards in preparation.
WeWork arrived in India this year with Karan Virwani driving the enterprise in partnership with construction company Embassy Group, settling on the shell of the old Galaxy theatre as their Bangalore location. The builders, we learn, are providing the physical space and financing for WeWork here as well as in Mumbai and Delhi (which open later this year). WeWork’s global branding team oversees the logistics.
Should you bag a spot here, we’re told that your workmates will be indie businesses and freelancers, as well as firms moving small teams out of tech parks. “This allows us to increase our database of members, while giving smaller companies access to big corporations,” says Karan, director, WeWork India.
Should you bag a spot here, we’re told that your workmates will be indie businesses and freelancers, as well as firms moving small teams out of tech parks.
We put on our hard hats to peek around the ground floor of the transforming Galaxy. Once the coughing and sputtering from construction dust clears, we spot a reception structured like an amphitheatre with a space for movie screenings, and a large, stylish staircase that leads to workstations on the upper floor. Brightly-lit rooms along one side of the reception will accommodate small teams of four to six people, while the centre of the floor will be a common area with hot desks.
When complete, WeWork Bangalore will comprise six storeys and two levels of parking; accommodate 2,200 desks, an amphitheatre and three pantries; and provide a café, a gym and a terrace swimming pool to users. (Best luxury: it’s a ten minute walk from the MG Road Metro.)
“We want this to be more than an office space, we hope to create a culture that allows work-life balance,” Karan tells us earnestly. Is that encouragement to pass notes to unknown cuties at other desks? “Through the WeWork network we want to connect people who work independently with each other,” is the demure answer. “WeWork has offices in over 40 countries around the world, so this is a global database.”
Call WeWork to take your own hard hat tour, or turn up to the yoga classes they’re conducting this weekend for deep breathing and intel on their offers. “We want to create cohesive spaces for people to make a life, not just a living,” Karan says. It’s an expensive life, with the cost of a dedicated desk starting at Rs 16,500. For a pool overlooking Residency Road, though, we might just be willing to consider it floating capital.
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