There's probably nothing that screams 'Montreal' more than a leather wine rack that straps onto your bike. Montreal-based company Oopsmark is the pioneering maker of these clever racks and other items they call "tools for urban living," and they've recently moved into a new studio space in one of the city's creative hubs.
To expand, they will also be establishing a coworking space, set to be officially launched in the new year. In the meantime, as their coworking space sits empty, they are now offering to let people come in and work in the space for free until the new year, in exchange for some non-perishable food donations that will be given to one of the city's largest food banks, Moisson Montréal.
When asked about why they wanted to give back to the community this way, founder and former environmental engineer Jesse Herbert explains:
Until the space is officially launched, it's just sitting here and we wanted to have something fun with it. Our first choice was to trade free co-working space for non-perishable food items over the Christmas season. People get to be productive, we get the word out and people get food. It's a no brainer and everybody wins.
In a recent interview with CBC Radio, Hebert also noted that clients of food banks aren't necessarily faceless strangers, but possibly someone you know: a neighbour, a relative, a student. In an uncertain economy with food prices rising sharply, more and more people and their families are suffering from food insecurity and turning to food banks for help.
A space for different kinds of 'working postures'Coworking spaces have matured during the last few years, as more and more are popping up in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Madrid and elsewhere. An increasing number are offering perks like gaming areas, climbing walls and gyms to attract young workers who don't want to just sit and stare at a computer all day.
Similarly, in addition to its leather-making studio, Oopsmark's 1,700 square feet of space will host a variety of furniture that will support different "working postures": there will be "squatting desks", adjustable standing desks, couches, mobile desks, stools and they will even have a recumbent bicycle desk next year. In addition, there's a kitchen, a mini-gym, a living room, dining table, and an indoor hydroponic system for growing local plants up the walls. Take a tour of their space, which has a great view:
It's a great concept, combining the collaborative working ideal with doing a bit of social good to support the community's most vulnerable -- something that more co-working spaces would do well to engage in. Coworking spaces can not only be a place to go and work, but possibly designed like "intentional communities". Next year, when the Oopsmark coworking space officially launches, there will be 8 individual coworking stations, available to rent for CDN $375 per month, as well as drop-in options. The aim is to establish a great synergy, Herbert explains:
It's inspiring to work around people who are focused and passionate about what they do. Our hope is that by creating this innovative and healthy work environment, we can attract creative professions who value a dynamic, intimate and productive environment.