Coworking as a solution for smart working


The first coworking space in a shopping center is inaugurated today

The labour market enters a new era today: the smart working era. It’s a booming phenomenon, according to the most recent data (provided by Osservatorio 2018) smart workers are over 480 thousand, and mainlu work for large companies. For his reason, it is of the utmost urgency not only to redesign our concept of the working space, but also to create a collective space where networking is encouraged. In response to this need, Ceetrus Italy, a company that owns 47 shopping centers in the territory, and Catalitic, a firm specialized in coworking, got together to realize the LinkNow project.

The project is the first coworking in a shopping center in Italy, and today marks its inauguration in the shopping cener of Belpo’ a San Rocco al Porto – a landmark for the citizens of Lodi and Piacenza, close within the reach of 217.062 inhabitants.
The new space is a real working business space, as it’s specifically designed for business uses: here big companies, small-medium enterprises, and freelancers can all enjoy meeting rooms, equipment, services, and common reading spaces. Thanks to its specific location, users can also enjoy all of the services offered by a futuristic shopping center: shopping, parking lots, services, restaurants, after school services for kids between 3-12 and even a gym.

The project results from Ceetrus’s driving philosophy, which considers citizens as central and creates for them innovative and sustainable spaces, where it’s pleasing to live in now and in the future, and where they can create human bonds. “For the first time in Italy, a coworking space for businesses rises inside a shopping center – declared Raffaella Colacicco, Head of Property Ceetrus Italy – it’s an innovative initiative that has the goal of offering smart and sustainable spaces for citizens. The Belpò shopping center is once again an innovative place, a landmark for the inhabitants of the area, as it offers a space for sharing and socializing, offering a wide range of services for kids and adults alike, in addition to traditional commercial activities.”

“Coworking is a booming phenomenon – declared Pietro Cotrupi, Catalitic’s president and founder of the inCOWORK® centers. It can take root where the sharing of spaces and equipment comes together with the ability to create an environment where sharing is not an obstacle, but rather a value that helps in having more services at a much lower price, thinking, planning, operting, developing relations and cooperations”.

The inauguration – attended by the Mayor of San Rocco al Porto, Matteo Delfini – was a good chance to debate in front of HR professionals, representatives of small and medium enterprises, startups, smart workers and freelancers in regards to the need to embrace a new management culture. According to Samuel Lo Gioco, founder of the Smart Working Day, the new manager culture is based on a more working freedom and flexibility, which is the perfect ground for smart working to grow and perform at its best. Smart working however also means redesigning spaces; this theme has been addressed by the architect Luca Brusamolino, who underlined the evolution of traditional static spaces that “include desks and chairs” to open spaces that encourage sharing and cooperating, that way also helping innovation. The legal perspective is also important. Sergio Alberto Codella, of the legal firm Boursier Niutta & Partners, addressed the main points regarding the contract between employer and employee, the measures to adopt in order to respect the legal requirements, the forbidden behaviours of smart working and the limits to the control of the employee.

The coworking space: project and space organization.

The concept could take advantage of outside walls, where new windows for the offices have been opened to ensure that natural light could come in. The next section, on the inside, has been tranformed into an open space, and at the center rises the Link People area. Next to the outside perimeter, where no windows could be placed, rise the meeting room and break area. The central distribution, together with the presence of flexible areas, like the one devoted to open spaces, allow for the simple replicability of the same concept to other shopping centers. The idea of coworking follows a urban-industrial chic mood, characterized by exposed wood panels, which is already present in other structural elements at the center, combined with visible metal elements. Grey and orange are the main colors, chosen because they favor reflection thanks to their warmness and brightness. The “strong” choice of closing offices with glass walls grants a communal, unifying effect, but it still guarantees privacythanks to soundproofing elements. Huge care has been devoted to sustainability; building materials come from rehabilitated waste elements or completely recyclable ones. Moreover, all the furniture is long lasting, in order to avoid waste and frequent change, and it’s completely free from toxic substances that might diffuse in the air, so that the well being of the users can be assured.
The project has been relized by the architect studio BBA-Architetti & Partners, which deals with the development of shopping centers, retail shops and buildings, and with the restyling of all the aspects relating to planning and execution of the job.

The shopping center Belpò

Starting from July 20th 2019, the shopping center Belpò has undergone a complete renovation, redoubling its surface and changing its appearance thanks to a new design, inspired by typical farmsteads of the Lombard countryside. The shopping center includes over 60 new shops, a new external park composed by three new spaces, which are already open, and a fourth shop opening within the end of the year. Also the food court has been completely renovated, and it’s going to be open during nighttimes to host entertainment events.

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