The live/work model got complicated during the pandemic when we were forced to ditch the office for quarantine at home. But as borders and hotels across the globe continue to reopen, so too are coliving and coworking spaces – albeit with new questions about how they need to function.
It is into this void that coliving brand ARK launches its Wembley Park complex, reimagining a former hotel as a live/work/play space for a new era of ‘digital nomads’ seeking human connection and high-quality design.
Practice Holloway Li conceived the interiors of the 300-bedroom London coliving complex, where inhabitants can stay from 2 days to 12 months. The practice adopted a low-impact approach to redesigning the building, minimising waste – donating over 1,000 pieces of furniture from the hotel’s refurb to local families – and bridging the gap between ‘homey’ domesticity and design-led hotel rooms.
Studios are fully furnished and daubed in shades of sage, sand and taro – tones that are neutral and adaptable without being bland or boring. Each has a full kitchenette, and rooms have layered textures, translucence screens and semi-partitioning to help ‘zone’ them for function, inspired by the cabins of a houseboat.
It’s a different tone entirely in common areas such as ARK’s coworking space.
‘The coworking area feels like a large dining table to gather and work around, while the communal kitchen takes on the social quality of a country farmhouse kitchen,’ says Holloway Li co-founder Na Li. There are spaces for entertaining and dinner parties and a large rooftop garden on the top floor.
Wembley ARK is among the first coliving concepts to launch since the pandemic, and its founders, Charlie Gayner and Jermaine Browne sense are doubling down on fostering human connection. ‘We created ARK to directly respond to the shift in working patterns in a post-pandemic world, rise in urban loneliness, unprecedented increases in living costs, and growing demand for all-inclusive and more flexible living options in London,’ says Gayner.
Affordability – without compromising design and lifestyle – is key to that. Prices start from £88 per night, with a minimum two-night stay, or £1,131 per month all-inclusive. This bill includes a 24/7 gym, unlimited coworking space access, utilities and events (pottery and art classes, culinary and mixology sessions).
Adding to its sense of social responsibility, ARK’s founders have partnered with the Al-Hasaniya Women’s Centre to offer women experiencing domestic violence accommodation in the complex and access to its facilities.
Take a look inside Ark Wembley as it launches in September 2022.