Opposite a quiet, residential street in Gowanus lies a massive brick structure that nearly occupies an entire block. What was once a forgotten industrial factory building, this expansive space has been transformed into a vibrant, beautiful and incredibly cool co-working space. Coworkrs, as it is aptly called, recruited LEESER Architecture to design their first Brooklyn location. At three floors, the design includes communal and private work spaces, lounges, and a rooftop terrace. Right past the reception desk by the entrance is a kitchen area with a long table covered with fresh fruit, bagels, juice, and even champagne. Comfy couches are positioned around low coffee tables, and there is a sectioned off area in a corner where you can take a break from work and enjoy a professional massage. NBD. The highlight of the main room is the so called “Stripe” – a striking teal pathway lined by fluorescent white lights that brings to mind the Yellow Brick Road. The Stripe leads from floor to floor by way of the two main staircases, where endless surprises lie. From pop culture references to architectural highlights, exploring the Coworkrs space is like embarking on a treasure hunt.
Following the Stripe’s path, six delicate tea plates can be seen adorning an otherwise unassuming brick wall. Upon closer inspection of the plates, though, appear to be none other than Yoda and Mr. T’s face looking down at you, surrounded by daintily painted flowers. Even more unexpected, though, is what lies on other side of the brick wall. A full-size arcade game, Kanye’s Quest, sits like a phantom tollbooth that has arrived to take you away to a new world, presumably Kanye West’s. As it turns out, after being sucked into a wormhole to the future, the ever-entertaining West must utilize his antics and rap-battle dozens of other famous rappers to fulfill a prophecy. If this could ever happen in reality, Yeezy would surely be up for the challenge.
Continuing on my journey, I notice wallpaper along the corridor which appears to be a charming French design, but, upon closer inspection, lies a hidden gem. If the pop culture plates were any indication, the walls at Coworkrs are I Spy perfection. Among rollercoasters, park scenes, and the Brooklyn Bridge, spot the one and only The Notorious B.I.G. (RIP). Question is, where can the rest of us get this dope decoration for our own walls?
Downstairs at the lower level lies another kitchen. Not to be outdone by its upstairs companion, this one is also laden with a myriad of enticing beverages and edibles: snack bars, chips, nuts and fruit; and a refrigerator full of local green juices and cold brew next to a second fridge full of Budweiser, depending on your craving. Just beyond the snackland oasis are hanging chairs – the cool kind made of rope that you’d add to your dream home Pinterest board.
Sitting in one of these chairs, you can appreciate the freehand graffiti on the opposite wall. A remainder from the original factory, the beautiful slate colored brick is adorned with multi-colored, pastel drawings: a lightbulb, a vintage looking television and a pair of eyes enhance the creative vibe that is wonderfully integrated into the space. Perfecting the peaceful calm in the room is a huge skylight above, draping it’s working inhabitants in warm, soft light.
I head back up the stairs, this time to the second floor, where the magical phone booths live. (What, your office doesn’t have them?!) A wall of private call booths is decked out with a fantastical mural – Dorothy and the rest of the Wizard of Oz crew make their way up the Yellow Brick Road to a modern-day Manhattan, glimmering in the distance. Nothing is mundane here; every nook and cranny has been thoughtfully decorated, and every pathway looks inviting. Even the phone booths make you want to spend time in them! Perhaps the coolest thing about this place, though, is the nearby “doggy corner”, a playpen area filled with toys and treats where members can bring their dogs to play while they work. I already wanted to hang out here all day, and walking away from so many cute furry friends was no easy task.
Photo by John Balestrieri
Taking in the absurdly cool aesthetic and many perks of the space, one thing is for certain: it would only exist this way in Brooklyn. In fact, their commitment to creating a unique space that represents the community they serve is something Coworkrs prides itself on. Their two locations in the Financial District and their Flatiron location are nothing like this artsy, industrial space, which is to be expected. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, Coworkrs spaces are very well tailored to its occupants, setting them apart as authentic, unique, and committed to providing their members with a productive space.
Coworkrs Gowanus is located at 68 3rd St. in Brooklyn.