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Anne Quito

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How WeWork Experiments On Itself to Advance the Field of Office Design

In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Redefining (and Redesigning) The Way WeWork," Anne Quito visits WeWork's offices in New York to discover how the company is using its own headquarters as the test bed for its future product offering.

In a nondescript building in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, the global headquarters of WeWork buzzes with creative energy. In just a little over six years, the start-up at the forefront of the coworking-space rental boom has created a $16 billion operation with 50,000 members in 28 cities, with 96 locations announced for this year.

Spread across two and a half floors, the 50,000-square-foot headquarters is the home base for WeWork’s almost-700-strong New York–based staff and serves as a laboratory for its designers.

WeWork’s designers think of the giant staircase that connects three floors of its headquarters as a series of occasional meeting spaces, but also as a kind of indoor park. Image © Lauren KallenGathering spaces at WeWork’s headquarters offer a wide range of options in terms of informality and noise levels. The café tends to be fairly energetic. Image © Lauren KallenThe in-house recording studio has a contemporary flair. Image © Lauren KallenEvery WeWork location has some local element; the headquarters has a mural featuring a timeline of New York musicians—from rock and roll to hip-hop—along a narrow corridor. Image © Lauren Kallen+ 7