The lobby at Bond Collective, a coworking space just a few blocks from New York’s famous Wall Street, is dim despite natural and lamp lighting. When members and visitors exit the elevators, their first impression is a wall of framed images featuring pristinely dressed businesspeople in wildly contorted poses. It’s the work of Robert Longo from his series “Men in the City.”
Sophistication doesn’t have to be stuffy, and work doesn’t have to be a drag. That’s the mentality Elide Grabowski, Bond Collective’s director of design, kept in mind when detailing every inch of common area in the 40,000-square-foot space at 60 Broad Street.
She says that, above all, she wants Bond Collective’s members to “feel refreshed to be at work” when they arrive. Muted lighting and dark walls evoke the feel of both a lounge and exclusive club, as well as a sense of coziness. Dozens of chairs and sofas, of all shapes and textures — even pillows propped against the window ledge — invite members and guests to make themselves comfortable.
In this front lobby area, you won’t find a sign that reads “Bond Collective,” and unlike at some other contemporary coworking spaces, you certainly won’t see any posters with motivational slogans. There are designated times when members can get together for happy hour — the collective is mature, in contrast to the college dorm coworking stereotype.
“With the furniture, the people around you and the lighting, it doesn’t need to say ‘get motivated.’ You feel the vibe and you feel motivated,” says Shlomo Silber, co-founder and CEO of Bond Collective. “Shared space, I think, originally was for startups — a place for smaller companies to come until they were ready to grow into a larger office. We see that very differently. We see companies that want to be in a shared space, where they don’t have to worry about any of the daily headaches of the copier breaking down or cleaning services or anything along those lines.”
Bond’s combination of classic and modern design is devoid of overt branding, and Silber says he doesn’t want to tell his members — which include companies that specialize in everything from healthcare to hospitality, architecture to coding and even cookies — how to work. If you look closely, you’ll recognize how Bond Collective members’ preferences define the space, which, although decorated, is a blank canvas. “It’s not about our brand,” Silber says. “It’s about making your brand better.” The geometric shapes throughout are Bond Collective’s most explicit (yet still subtle) nod to its own brand imagery.
“We like to be in the background,” Grabowski says, “and let our members be on display.”
The company has four locations in New York and a fifth in the works. It also recently announced a forthcoming space in Philadelphia set to open in spring 2018, the first of 30 additional leases Bond Collective plans to sign nationwide by 2020. Future locations will go beyond workspaces to include hotels, retail stores and more.