While co-working spaces such as those of Google’s “Campus” in London, WorkVille in New York City, and Nextspace in California have been touted as new ideas, they are actually a resurgence of a very old one. The Italian “botteghe,” or workshops, of the 15th-Century were hotbeds of artistic, creative, and practical innovations, comprised of numerous, interdisciplnary artists, scientists, and professionals, all of whom were overseen by a single “Master.”
The “Master” brought these budding, young talents together, but they were independent in their pursuits. In a common area, they were able to both connect their projects and processes, and connect with one another, leading to the innovations for which the Renaissance is remembered today. Popular, or mainstream, beliefs and ideas clashed and coexisted with more controversial ones, as the workers both competed and collaborated on their projects. By fostering dialogue between men of disparate passions, ideas were ushered into actions and practical applications that were then ready to be introduced to the market.
The different professions, and outlooks of the professionals overseen by the Master artisan, combined to form a perfect union of art and science — the creative and the practical. It was a more holistic approach to creation and business than the division of “specialists” one sees so often today, and no one can argue with the results. Such luminaries as da Vinci and Botticceli started their careers in these Florentine botteghe, networking with people who helped them find, and form, their strengths, fashion their ideas into products, and successfully carry those products to market.
Today, shared office spaces like the ones mentioned above are bringing back that spirit while also making workspace affordable to those who do not have the means for more permanent, and private, offices. WorkVille in New York allows you to name your own price for a desk or a table in a shared, co-working environment where you will meet others who share your viewpoints and passions, as well as those with dissimilar outlooks and different disciplines.
WorkVille NYC (http://workvillenyc.com/) is not just a place to work, it is a place to network, create, converse, and compete. Mere blocks from Times Square and major transportation hubs, it brings affordable luxury to the everyday working environment. Hold meetings in the cafe, and take calls on the terrace, then return to your sun-soaked desk and try to remember that you are on the job.