Silversquare opens seventh coworking spot in mid-corona crisis
The ambition to develop a network in Belgium and Luxembourg. After Bailli, two more strategic locations in Brussels and then it’s time to go to Antwerp and Liège.
Silversquare, the Belgian coworking pioneer, continues to expand, despite the corona crisis. The opening of the seventh location on Avenue Louise in Brussels this week is just a taste of the ambitious plans of the Brussels residents. Soon they’re opening another two locations in Brussels, and then it’s time to expand to the rest of the country; Antwerp and Liège are the next cities planned. “Our ambition is to have a strong network throughout Belgium within a few years,” says Axel Kuborn, one of the two founders of Silversquare. “We continue to invest in new locations because there is demand for it. Coworking has grown enormously since 2015, with a 19% increase in the number of coworking locations in 2019 compared to 2018, and that trend will definitely continue. There is more need for flexibility and a wider range of office solutions.”
Ambitious expansion plans
Silversquare was founded in 2008 by Alexandre Ponchon and Axel Kuborn. They were real pioneers with their first location on Avenue Louise. Today, Silversquare has seven locations in Brussels, Zaventem and Luxembourg with a total area of 27,000 m², or approximately four football fields. But it doesn’t stop there. The ambition is to have an extensive network of coworking locations spread throughout Belgium and Luxembourg within a few years. First, Brussels is being further developed at the North and Central Station, then Antwerp and Liège follow.
With Befimmo as a partner and believer in the ‘hybrid model’, Silversquare has sufficient resources to further shape the future of work. “The evolution in our way of working and living will only accelerate due to the corona crisis. It’s estimated that 50% of the workforce will make use of an ecosystem of workplaces in the future. A balance will be found between working from home, from the office and in other places, such as coworking spaces. Together with Silversquare, Befimmo will further expand this hybrid model throughout Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to meet the needs of future users,” says Benoît De Blieck, CEO of Befimmo.
Working in unique interiors
Silversquare Bailli is the newest Silversquare creation. The coworking location has four floors in a monumental brutalist building with a 500 m² courtyard. For every new spot, Silversquare works with artists who get carte blanche to bring a piece of their world into Silversquare. Bailli was designed by the Brussels design collective Studio KRSJT; each floor focuses on a different natural element such as earth, fire or water, so that you enter a different atmosphere every time. A coworking spot is more than just offices. Alexandre Ponchon, one of the two founders of Silversquare: “We look at every location as an OASE, an Office as A ServicE. Coworkers can count on a wide offer of extra services,such as a reception desk, private offices, meeting rooms, spaces for events and conferences, yoga & nap rooms and even showers. Add to this the 350 community events per year,the 2000 companies that are members and you clearly see that Silversquare coworking locations are real ecosystems”.
The ‘new’ new way of working
Telework is here to stay. But not telework alone. We are social animals. Coworking plays a crucial role here. Companies with big offices will always have a showcase, but flexibility will lie more and more with employees who establish themselves in coworking locations or in other places. “With the dematerialisation and digitisation of work, the concept of one centralised workplace is outdated. All of us going to the same place at the same time no longer makes sense. That’s why coworking is an ideal addition: working close to home in an inspiring environment with professional tools and surrounded by others,” says Alexandre Ponchon.
For freelancers too, the new working is an absolute plus due to the hardware and software. By the hardware is meant the unique location and the technical and technological amenities, while the software involves much more the mutual cross-pollination and innovation between members in coworking environments. “For example, we see that some start-ups here quickly become scale-ups because they can easily find customers and partners within the network. We have companies here that owe 40% of their turnover solely to members within the coworking environment,” Axel Kuborn says. Fewer physical, human and time-related silos, more innovation. Silversquare is setting the tone for the years to come.