Hong Kong’s uniquely claustrophobic urban environment has given rise to peculiar lifestyle customs over the years, such as the city’s love for eating out in lieu of non-existent dining rooms at home. It’s no surprise therefore, that co-working spaces have sprung up here in multitudes in the minute span of half a decade – 283 and counting – offering a spacious and focused alternative to cramped living spaces and cafes hostile to freelancers, with the added benefit of being surrounded by like-minded professionals eager to exchange business ideas.
Apart from the main players of The Hive, WeWork and Naked Hub, a number of smaller, boutique-scale co-working spaces have set themselves apart from the competition with a knack for creating home-like environments to focus the mind and pave the way for new enterprise.
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The Work Project
Located in the swanky Soundwill Plaza II opposite Times Square, The Work Project has nabbed various design accolades worldwide not least for its Bean Buro-designed interiors, hotel-inspired concierge, height-adjustable standing desks, and a centrepiece vertical garden wall designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc. Everything is precisely thought-out from a sensory perspective, from the house scents down to the ambient music.
Able to accommodate more than 300 people over its 74 private offices and 80 hot desks spread over four floors, day passes at The Work Project start at $350 HKD/day, while a part-time hot desk plan starts at $2,250 HKD/month.
Focused primarily on space-starved students and weekend freelancers, Desk-One‘s casual atmosphere is more akin to a cafe or an exceptionally hip community centre than a co-working space, and its pricing scheme reflects that: visitors can pay $20 HKD for the half-hour (from a minimum of one hour) up to an unlimited monthly pass for $2,880 HKD, all prices of which are inclusive of your expected basic amenities (WiFi, plentiful charging ports) as well as complimentary specialty coffee and tea, snacks, and lockers.
A packed events schedule is open to the public, with workshops on Western and Chinese calligraphy, illustration, candle making and filmmaking. Desk-One’s 1,400-sq-ft Causeway Bay location offers a vista of Happy Valley while its 3,000-sq-ft branch in the heart of Mongkok weaves in various influences from old Hong Kong, such as rattan workspace dividers, breeze block walls and cha chaan teng-inspired tiled flooring.
Catering to the same crowd is andotherspace, a cosy work space in SoHo that overlooks the former Central Police Station. With prices beginning from $50 HKD/hour and topping out at $2,300 HKD for 20 days each month, andotherspace is highly accessible and throws in a winning formula of complimentary hand-drip coffee, herbal tea and snacks to keep you suitably replenished throughout a work or study session.
The first-floor space is divided into several areas to suit different styles: the Lounge functions as a living room for socialising or kicking back, with a row of study seating at the bay windows to take full advantage of the view; the Library is a silent study zone to facilitate total focus; and two meeting rooms with floor-to-ceiling blackboards can accommodate groups of 5-6 people each.
Backed by the Emperor Group, Mustard Seed is a co-working space in Wan Chai that is focused on start-ups within the entertainment sector. This explains one of Mustard Seed’s most unique features – a full suite of virtual reality equipment for startups to test their projects, including a Sony PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and HTC Vive headset. A pool table also serves as a well-earned distraction for members.
Offering a choice of hot desk, dedicated desk or private office on a monthly, trimonthly or yearly basis, Mustard Seed also hosts a range of events and seminars, from design and videography lectures to inspiring showcases of talent within the sector.
This co-working space inhabits three floors of the 11-storey The Wave building next to the Kwun Tong MTR station, developed in whole by the Stan Group to be a business, commercial and lifestyle hub for the area. Designed along a theme of bright colours and eye-catching graphics, the interior of the 24-hour co-working space strikes a fun and stimulating chord to match the energy of the start-ups that it caters to.
With a day pass starting at $150 HKD and private offices from $3,000 HKD/month, The Wave is one of the most affordable fully-fledged options of its calibre in Hong Kong. A full roster of events – from flower-arranging workshops and social mixers to entrepreneurship talks – keeps the community tight-knit while helping with helping to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and skills.
Banner and top image: Courtesy of The Work Project