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Imagination Runs Wild at DeskLodge Bristol Coworking Experiment

Imagination Runs Wild at DeskLodge Bristol Coworking Experiment

These are exciting times in flexible workspace. This year alone has seen many innovative and design-led spaces hitting the scene, from The Office Group's arrival in The Shard to Office Space in Town's new Mayfair location.

As you may have noticed, both examples are based in London. But not all operators or clients are drawn to the capital's bright lights. One workspace visionary who has turned his back on the capital - and its soaring rents - is Tom Ball, founder of NearDesk and coworking space DeskLodge.

Formerly based at King's Cross, Tom closed the doors to DeskLodge in June and has just re-opened them at a brand new location in Bristol.

[caption id="attachment_4540" align="alignleft" width="600"]DeskLodge Bristol - reception DeskLodge Bristol - reception[/caption]

"We need to solve the 'rest of the country' problem as not everybody wants to work in Central London," he said in an interview with the BCA. Tom cites stifling rents as one of his main reasons for moving his coworking space out of the capital, but also his desire to try something new and innovative in a place with an equally thriving entrepreneurial scene.

"The problem with London is the cost. It makes experiments like DeskLodge more expensive."

"NearDesk is the day job, DeskLodge is an experiment - it's a smorgasbord of different types of places to work. It's also somewhere to test our NearDesk software."

DeskLodge opened its doors earlier this month with half of its private spaces already fully occupied, which goes some way to demonstrating the appeal of a space that isn't just flexible in its contracts - but in its breadth of choice too.

[caption id="attachment_4542" align="alignleft" width="601"]DeskLodge Bristol - lego meeting area DeskLodge Bristol - lego meeting area[/caption]

"People want choice, yet there is a shortage of spaces that embrace the new style of work and the ability to roam."

As such, the new DeskLodge is enriched with a multitude of different places to work - from quiet corners for hunkering down and deep thought, to large social spaces enriched with the comforting hubbub of a busy workplace.

It's not all experimental, as Tom describes a large proportion of the space as "relatively normal" with private offices and fixed desks for those who want to "set roots". However these clients also have access to the "fun" space, which gives them the chance to get out from behind closed doors and collaborate with others.

Here, both permanent and drop-in members are privy to a pick 'n mix of open lounge areas, hot desks, coding spaces, meeting areas and multi-purpose booths. And this is where the experiment really comes into its own.

[caption id="attachment_4543" align="alignleft" width="600"]DeskLodge Bristol - log cabin with stained glass window DeskLodge Bristol - log cabin with stained glass window[/caption]

There's a Lego booth with its own 'everything is awesome' button (cue disco balls and lights), a woodland log cabin complete with stained glass window, an indoor garden with AstroTurf and deckchairs, a Scout tent booth, and even a vintage-style meeting room affectionately known as 'Grandma's House'.

This imaginative kaleidoscope of workspaces might be described as an experiment, but there's nothing provisional or makeshift about it. Based near Bristol's Temple Meads train station - a major thoroughfare for businesses and commuters - the space sits within the same building as the Bristol Post and has been secured on a 10 year lease. In other words, it's here to sta


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