CHCstories: transforma BXL & BCN
Entering an amazing and inspiring workspace for a community of entrepreneurs, innovators and change-makers transforma now has in Brussels, one cannot ask a question – how it all started? Precisely because they were asked this question on a daily basis, the team explained it all in a blog post dedicated to their story and to what we all want to know…how a small group of friends managed to build such a creative environment on their own, without any external investments?
Everything started from a need – a need to continue working together after a first space transforma’s co-founders were working in closed its doors, and a need to dynamise a particular area of Brussels by bringing in a new creative and innovative space. First step? Testing. Finding a space which doesn’t require a lot of investment and start building a community. It was on the conference organized in Barcelona that they met a person whom they joined forces with and worked on the idea of creating network of coworking spaces – transforma. By the way, we also visited their space in Barcelona in September – we’ll tell you more about it later in the post.
After overcoming a challenge of finding the right space, equipping it without many resources and doing most of the things in a DIY way, creating a team was essential – finding the right, trustful people able to contribute to the project in different ways. A community recognized the efforts and joined on board. A multidisciplinary community of makers, innovators and creatives was formed. The future was bright, because “when you are in a room with great people, great things happen” – until the moment they received a last minute notice that they have to move out from the space. In 2015, a new, permanent home was born. Moving, making sure the community follows, rebuilding a new community, adapting a new space without losing the values: openness, collaboration, innovation, creativity, co-creation…finding financial solutions and doing it fast, it was all part of the challenge.
Starting from a smaller co-working space and then slowly expanding, today, transforma is much more than just a co-working – it is an environment in which new ideas are born and in which members are able to grow, network and innovate. There are in addition several private offices available and currently used by a range of creative small enterprises or associations working in different fields. A modular collaboration and meeting space – the Co-Creation Hall adapts to the setting needed for meetings or events; Innovation Garden is a creative meeting space that has been specifically designed for co-creation workshops, collective intelligence activities, open space events and conferences; several other meeting rooms and spaces can adapt to different type of events – from team days, to pop-up stores or cultural activities. Did we mention there is a siesta room?:) MakerSpace – a hardware prototyping space combined with a logistics-as-a-service offers an efficient way to go from idea to manufacturing and to market. Not to mention that members who research and prototype new products in the MakerSpace, receive and store components as well as end products ready for shipment in the Warehouse available for stocking products within reach.
We cannot avoid talking about the garden. In 2018, transforma bxl started a collaborative permacultural project in order to sustainably use the garden surrounding the building. It is not only open for the co-workers but also to other citizens-driven initiatives with the idea to use it in a collective way.
This is not nearly all, Transforma is constantly growing. A new, super-equipped Fab Lab is currently in the making, so no need to say more – stay tuned and follow Transforma on Facebook, Instagram and website.
Recently we had an opportunity to visit another transforma coworking space, this time in Barcelona. A very nice and cosy space is located in the Eixample District, in the heart of Barcelona. With very creative and interesting solutions in the interior design of the space, transforma bcn presents a inspiring multidisciplinary environment for local and international freelancers.
The space is connected to the bar and restaurant VIVANT with special deals for transforma coworkers where they can enjoy a coffee, spend a lunch break or have afterwork drinks.
The coworking space has several rooms, dynamic and relaxing, that can adjust to the individual needs. Several activities are organized each week, like ping pong and soccer competitions, after work drinks, guest speakers, shared meals, etc. Different initiatives and program take place throughout the month and include personal health opportunities such as yoga, stretching, and massage sessions. transforma also provides accounting advising for our freelancers and offer professional advancement opportunities such as marketing and communication sessions.
More than that, transforma bcn also aims to showcase the talents and work of its members. They organize events that support their coworkers’ passions and professional pursuits: since the opening of the space they have have hosted art exhibitions, artistic projects, furniture-making workshops, English classes and retro video game sessions. But they are not limited to their own community, instead they pay attention to the creativity of the city in large, supporting different artistic and creative initiatives and promoting local artists in their space.