Second Home review: a good day at the office

This members-only workspace for ‘creative nomads’ succeeds thanks to the grace and invention of its architects, rising Spanish firm SelgasCano

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Second Home review: a good day at the office
The entrance of Second Home / © Iwan Baan

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Second Home review: a good day at the office
The entrance of Second Home / © Iwan Baan

In the 1960s the Florentine architectural group Superstudio conceived a future without buildings. Instead the earth would be covered with a grid of essential services into which modern nomads could plug themselves at will and lead a life of eternal hippiedom. Superstudio called this vision continuous monument, and left some ambiguity as to whether it was utopian or disturbing.

What they did not imagine was that Wi-Fi, 3G and iCloud would achieve at least some of their ideas, enabling you, as they do, to carry a chunk of your life around and access it, signal permitting, wherever you like. It would not, it turns out, be necessary to dig wires into the ground all over the world, which the continuous monument would have required.

This technology has also created a hyperactive business culture, of sudden fortunes, appearances and disappearances, of inventions that explode or fade. It is to serve this world that Second Home has come into being, a former carpet factory off Brick Lane in east London within whose seductive interiors a fragment of Superstudio’s techno-nomadism has, possibly, come to pass.

Second Home describes itself as “a new type of workspace and creative hub”. It is a place where “fast-growing creative companies” can move in and, if they wish and at short notice, move out. It consists of two deep floors, going from one side of the block to the other, where boundaries between working areas are defined by curving transparent walls which dissolve into reflections the distinction between one company and another. Its tenants, or “members”, include the British office of TaskRabbit, which is a sort of updated Yellow Pages, and Rooster Punk, a “storytelling agency for technology brands” who “believe in business as a force for good.” ….

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