Why Design Elements Are Crucial in a Cowork Space

When designing a cowork facility that allows members to maximize their productivity and grow their business, there’s a lot to consider. We had a chance to chat with Michael Kim of Diamond Schmitt Architects about the key design elements that went into creating alternawork’s dynamic cowork space.

Designing cowork spaces like alternawork is an exercise in flexible design and defining what this emerging workplace can become. As the future of the work environment moves towards more cluster or team-based ethos, we explored the opportunities and challenges of this mindset.

Cowork office design is about enabling the following:

  • A collaborative, creative atmosphere
  • Available privacy
  • Flexibility of space

Collaborative & Creative Atmospherealternawork's cowork space was carefully designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects to allow for collaboration, privacy, and expansion.

There is a certain aesthetic that comes to mind when we say cowork— but how do we define it? It is casual, creative, encouraging, high energy, hospitable, and easy on the eye. It’s not about bringing “play” into the work environment, but rather making work a generous place that allows us to be productive and to be human.

Being tech-enabled is the minimal requirement for any cowork space. It’s not about tech for the sake of tech, but for the ease of work. Collaborating on projects and sharing prototyping ideas and results with a coworker should be as easy as lounging in your living room, sharing your favorite blog post with a friend.

Available Privacy

Collaboration and sharing are good, but should not reduce your productivity at work. Not all activities require a team structure, so privacy – both acoustically and visually – should be customizable for teams (your pod) and individuals (your desk).

Often sought-out warehouse conversions or loft design for cowork spaces can be challenging as the aesthetic we often see may not provide the most acoustically sound office. When designing alternawork, we made this a priority: allowing privacy of sound through sound-absorbent materials on the floors, ceilings, and meeting rooms throughout. This makes sure all your good ideas stay within your team!

Flexibility of Space

Different teams have different needs, and as they grow, these needs may change. Designing cowork spaces should anticipate these changes and be ready to grow or shrink based on the team’s needs. When designing alternawork, we’ve implemented expansion plans where, as teams grow, walls can easily be removed, reattached, and rearranged to accommodate different sizes of teams and different levels of privacy. The key is to offer multiple typologies of workspace arrangements.

Book a tour of your local alternawork office today to see for yourself how design makes all the difference.


alternawork is a dynamic cowork facility serving the thriving tech community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Kelowna. To book a tour or discuss your office space needs, contact us today!

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Richard Myers

About Richard Myers

Richard Myers, cofounder of alternawork, has over 20 years of experience in the commercial real estate Industry as a senior member of some of the largest companies. He helped create alternawork to help companies adapt to the fast-changing commercial real estate environment.