Coworking Space: A Modern Business Trend Born In 15th Century Italy


In recent years coworking spaces have grown a lot in popularity. The coworking company rents out a large amount of office space, fixes it up with workstations and other business equipment, and then rents out the spaces to small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. They pay a lot less than if they had to pay for an entire separate office. Based on the buzz, you’d think this trend was as new as the latest social networking site. However, during the Renaisance, in Florence Italy, coworking bottegas flourished.

Artists, craftspeople and artisans shared workshops. They competed with each other and learned from each other. These bottegas often had a “Master” in charge of the entire structure, but he was not a boss. He might guide, but he didn’t control the work of the others. One of the most famous Masters was Andrea del Verrocchio. Himself a sculptor, goldsmith and painter, he helped younger artists pursue art or engineering or architecture, or even science or a business venture. He worked with Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Leonardo da Vinci.

In the bottegas, the artists could freely communicate with each other. No doubt some of their egos argued a lot, but they learned from the process. Plus, da Vinci was not the only artist who was also a scientist. The lines between business and art, art and science, were not drawn as strictly then as now. Most of them needed patronage from the wealthy Florentine merchants, and could use their energy to help business.

Although networked only by sharing the same physical workspace, they managed to both compete and cooperate in an entrepreneurial way.

A new shared office space is Workville in the heart of New York City, close to Times Square and Bryant Park, in the luxurious building at 1412 Broadway. With its glass walls that let in the sunlight and the white marble and sculptured lights of the common areas, the surrounding terrace, the lounge and cafe, working there feels as though you’re in a 5-star hotel.

Workville takes care of all your business services: mail delivery, high-speed Internet, 24-access for Type A overachievers who never sleep, fresh coffee, telephone service, printers and the janitorial service. Need to see a client? Meetings rooms can be rented by the hour. All you need to do is report to your assigned cubicle and get work. When you’re ready to relax, you can hang out and network with Workville’s other tenants. You may find clients, partners or referral buddies.

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