Three years ago when the Kiwi Landing Pad started we took a risk deciding to set up camp in SoMa; an area that is known for it’s colourful community and homeless nightlife. It is grungy and run down; some of the streets appear more like a third world country then one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in the world. All of a sudden, what was unused warehouses and workshops has become an innovation mecca.
As an area with equal parts poverty and wealth, SoMa is home to more startups per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world. What makes SoMa interesting is that from the street, you would never know that unbranded, warehouse like buildings are home to hundreds of startups and billions of dollars. Step beyond the roller doors and coded gates, and you’ll find high ceilings and polished concrete floors, bustling with energy. These spaces are humming with the chatter of people exploring ideas and solving problems.
The Kiwi Landing Pad is “New Zealand” in San Francisco. It is a community of Kiwis building their businesses and a way to stay connected with home. It’s the best of both worlds – with access to the world and all the comforts of home.
In October we evaluated the space and realised that in order to inspire our residents, we needed to create a stimulating environment. Our mission was to get people excited again and to be more involved.
We wanted to go beyond having a coworking space where people have a desk and a chair. We set out to provide a place that breathes life, inspires creativity and invites collaboration. Where we would become a destination for New Zealand business leaders and a catalyst for Kiwi success.
We rejuvenated the space over the next three months. The office now includes one green feature wall, and a lush vertical garden, a lounge with a bamboo jungle, turned five walls into giant black boards, refreshed the furniture, introduced standing desks, created three dynamic working spaces and two co-working areas.
“The theory behind our refresh: if you create an awesome space where people want to exist, it’ll increase both demand and productivity.”
We are lucky at the Kiwi Landing Pad whereby we don’t suffer from many of the nuances that many co-working environments have. We are small – this allows for quiet, where people can focus, everyone has the basics that they need and it feels more like home than a place of work.
We are a place for New Zealand startups to land and expand. We’ll explore a day in the life of these companies in our next post. We’ll look at how an environment can have impact on what is able to be achieved in a day.
Post by Sian Simpson – Community Manager – Kiwi Landing Pad