If ever there’s a city gunning for London’s title of the ‘creative capital of Europe’, it’s Berlin. The German capital is home to large communities of artists, designers, and programmers attracted to the city’s cheaper rents and its cache of old industrial buildings, ripe for adaptive reuse.
Creative clusters have long been springing up in formerly abandoned warehouses, old department stores and historic structures, whose vast proportions foster collaboration and idea sharing. Some buildings are being colonised in an informal way, such as the concrete confines of The Store at Soho House Berlin – a hub for freelancers and visitors to the city – while others are becoming dedicated factories for experimentation.
Here are the best Berlin coworking spaces in which to kick-start your new venture.
Kaos Berlin takes over a vast industrial building – formerly the Transformationswerk Ost & Kabelwerk factory – on the banks of the River Spree. This collective Berlin coworking space is geared towards makers, providing them with workshops, desk space, and even a photography studio. The building’s voluminous main hall is shared by artists and designers. It’s also used as an exhibition space and for hosting workshops ranging from furniture design and craft brewing to blacksmithing.
Best for: makers
Cost: starts from €125 per month for a flexidesk; €280 for a fixed desk
Where: Wilhelminenhofstr 92, 12459 Berlin
The defunct Kindl Brewery has undergone a creative revival in recent years as a contemporary art gallery. CRCLR House takes over its former storage warehouse and greenhouse, which retains its raw aesthetic and high ceilings. This activist-led coworking space is pretty intimate, with only 20 members, all of whom are part of a ‘circle economy’ that aims to design out waste and promote wider social benefits. Furnishings, fixtures and partitions are all made from upcycled items, which gives the Neukölln space a DIY feel.
Best for: activists and social entrepreneurs
Costs: price on application
Where: Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin
Fritz46 is housed in a former 1970s office block – complete with all the trimmings from the era – in Mitte’s Moabit neighbourhood. The Berlin coworking space has made a feature of its retro digs, retaining peeling-paint and using lockers to act as informal partitions inside the open-plan offices. Perks include a coffee package which lets you caffeinate to your heart’s content and super fast VDSL broadband connection for an additional bolt-on fee.
Best for: central location
Cost: €140 for a flexidesk; €180 for a fixed desk
Where: Lübecker Straße 46, 10559 Berlin
Founded in 2005, St Oberholz was an early mover and shaker on Berlin’s coworking scene, commandeering the upper level of its Rosenthaler Platz coffee house as flexible ‘plug and play’ workspace. It added a second coworking space to its nearby Zehdenicker digs in 2015 and members can split their time across both locations, which come with high ceilings, sash windows and classic parquet floors. St Oberholz offers a range of membership packages, including a €15 day ticket, a four-hour €4 pass for nomadic visitors and a special ‘night owls’ package for those who work best after dark.
Best for: night owls and nomads
Costs: €4 temporary pass; €15 day pass; basic membership from €99
Where: Rosenthaler Straße 72A, Berlin 10437 and Zehdenicker Straße 1, Berlin 10119
Ahoy! gets its nautically-themed name because it helps ‘budding startups and freelancers steer clear of potential pitfalls’. The 4,500 sqm coworking space was founded in 2012 by Nikita Roshkow and Nikolas Woischnik, of blog TechBerlin. The hub is well connected with collaborators and investors in the tech world, including sister companies Openers and Tech Open Air, and it offers members additional services like event management and legal advice.
Best for: practical add-ons
Cost: €11 day pass; membership on a sliding scale with POA
Where: Wattstraße 11, 13355 Berlin
Factory Berlin, Mitte
Factory’s 75,000 sq ft Mitte space sits on the site of the Berlin Wall and was inaugurated in 2011 by Google chairman Eric Schmidt. The colossal start-up campus counts the likes of Soundcloud, Twitter, Uber and Pinterest among its core tenants. But it’s not all about the big names: this diverse coworking space markets itself as a ‘next-generation business club’ that caters for companies big and small.
Factory Berlin’s corporate partners include Google for Entrepreneurs, Deutsche Bank, and Deloitte, so don’t expect a scrappy start-up space, but the building’s industrial roots have been retained, including a vast brick events space which hosts regular exclusive happenings.
Best for: corporate connections
Cost: from €50 per month
Where: Rheinsberger Straße 76/77, 10115 Berlin
Tel Aviv shared workspace provider Mindspace has outposts across the world, including three in Berlin. Its Krausenstraße hub is the latest addition to the pack, and it’s got another opening on Skalitzer in April 2018. Mindspaces’ Berlin hubs are design-led spaces that are a deliberate riposte to the city’s grittier coworking hubs. Their polished environs cater for freelancers as well as big businesses. (Rumour has it, Apple is quietly working on its self-driving car project from within its Freidrichstraße address.)
Best for: design; proximity to big business
Costs: memberships from €50; desks from €250
Where: (coming soon) Skalitzer Straße 104, Berlin Kreuzberg, 10997
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