Let’s Talk About The Wing
Just shy of their 3 year anniversary, The Wing has been rapidly growing since their introduction to the coworking world in 2016. The all-female coworking space has 8 locations currently, with several more on the way. In addition, the American company has just unveiled its first international location in London. This members-only club comes together in one space to work and grow, with the ultimate goal being the advancement of women.
While we’re loving the unique and intricate designs featured in each location, some of the design choices may be for show rather than practicality. CEO Audrey Gelman was inspired by all-female clubs of the past, blending these historic references with modern-day feminism. The spaces are strewn with intricate detail, from the typography on the signage to the vintage fringe-lined desk lamps. Although we love the extra detail The Wing incorporated into their spaces, we have found that there are ways to put a personal spin on an interior while still keeping the space functional.
From the ornate hand-drawn wallpaper to the custom made curved furniture, it’s safe to say The Wing’s design style is nothing short of unique. Although the offices look beautiful, are they actually allowing the women that gather in them to do their best work? At Pacific Office Interiors, our goal is to make sure the spaces we create allow our clients to do their best work. With the growing popularity of coworking spaces, we want to dive into the function of this space in particular and give our suggestions. In this post we’ll be focusing on The Wing’s design and if it can be improved as a benefit to its inhabitants. Read on to see The Wing’s spaces and what we recommend for a beautiful and highly functional co-working space.
CEO Audrey Gelman points out that most working spaces of the past have been catered to men and therefore simply re-creating a men’s club wasn’t the goal, it had to be custom for the women using the space. In addition to nursing rooms and childcare, considerations were taken all the way to the standard metabolic rates of women, keeping the temperature of all spaces to 72 degrees. Beyond catering to physical aspects, The Wing’s focus on the social function of the space is at the heart of the design.
Reviews of the space from members range from glowing to critical. While each of The Wing’s locations attempt to blend collaboration space with supposedly quieter phone booths, some members comment on the overcrowding and acoustic issues. Proper space planning and capacity, as well as acoustics, are paramount to a comfortable working space. Ultimately, the result must be something practical for the company and culture, not just something that’s aesthetically pleasing.
Most would describe The Wing as a comfortable, social, historic place with a sense of community. Rooms include libraries, full-service cafes, and terraces full of outdoor seating that allows for a more casual working space. With this, of course, comes the need for ancillary furniture!
The Wing is designed to be not only a coworking space, but offer a sense of community. This is reflected in the design of each location. Added to that comfortability is in the plush fabric choices seen throughout. Although suede and velvet material is beautiful, it’s not the most durable choice for a high-use space. Combined with pastel hues, we would not personally choose these materials for a high use space. Even with fabric treatments, keeping these light-colored materials clean is extremely difficult, unless you have the time and budget to consistently replace them.
The office type throughout the locations is an open layout, with collaborative and ancillary pieces. The offices boast custom, ergonomic furniture created by female entrepreneurs. We love that all of the furniture is curved and features waterfall edges, which has ergonomic benefits as well. The custom furniture was designed to be as unique as the women using them.
The ergonomic designs are based on the average height of a woman. When our designers select furniture for a space, we like to keep in mind that it will be used by a diverse group and it’s important to take different body types and heights into consideration. This guarantees furniture will be ergonomic for whoever may be using the space. While the average woman may be 5’4”, more often than not women using the space will be taller than that. For more detail, check out our blog post on ergonomics!
A majority of The Wing’s locations are in historical buildings, and some of the elements are preserved and incorporated into the interior design. High ceilings and original tile flooring do not exactly offer the best acoustics in an already bustling workspace. To combat this, multiple fabrics are used throughout the space to help absorb sound. A majority of the pieces are covered in a water-resistant suede blend. Different patterned rugs are used throughout, in addition to sisal flooring, to help absorb sound.
Communal tables and cozy areas similar to living rooms allow for collaboration and break-out meetings. With the amount of available common space- is there enough private space for those who need something with less visual distraction to focus? While different locations offer phone booths for privacy, it’s important that these have both visual and acoustic privacy.
Much of the wallpaper used in The Wing features intricate, hand-drawn designs. Although these add a one-of-a-kind feeling to the space, they do not offer much acoustic benefit. Sound absorbing wallpaper, felt panels or even modular walls within the space can help combat this.
Although The Wing’s delicate glass lighting blends perfectly with the space, we use lighting that complements the atmosphere while offering acoustic benefits. Our favorite choice for The Wing? BuzziChandalier. While still elegant, this piece offers maximum sound absorption. Buzzispace also makes sound-absorbing pleats, which can attach to those fixtures or are even stylish enough to decorate the walls.