Inside Vancouver’s Hip Co-working Space, Werklab

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In our vertical series, cb Offering exciting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups-Like This Beauty Company Moved Out of a Rural Farmhouse and this carbon-bike company Located in a former auto body shop—we want to showcase the most unique and beautiful locations from across industries. This month we’re profiling Vancouver co-working spaces worklab,

Located on an industrial stretch of Venables Street in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, WorkLab may look unremarkable from the outside with its grey-blue exterior. But inside, the co-working space is an oasis among the bustling factories – a calm and quiet refuge. Filled with plants and lounge chairs where tech start-ups, freelancers and local business owners get to work.

Opened in 2016 by entrepreneur Christina Dissler, Werklab comprises two spaces: its original, 350-square-metre workspace on the building’s third floor, and its airy, 1,100-square-metre 2018 expansion, one floor below in the same beam Brick industrial heritage building with views of the city skyline to the west. “On my first site visit, I walked in and saw the three walls of windows, I was like, ‘This is so special,'” says Disler. In Vancouver, it’s not that easy to find industrial buildings (like old factories) with good bones, she says, and she knew right away that taking advantage of the space’s unique gift of natural light would be key. “Lighting is an integral part of everyone’s well-being,” says Disler. “Without good lighting, you’re going to overdose on caffeine and have a slump by 2 p.m.”

In fact, Disler’s interest in bringing the WorkLab’s design and functionality to life guided most of his decisions. “We want it to be a place that is able to revitalize people at work, not a place of scarcity,” she says. To that end, Disler collaborated with Victoria-based landscape designer Sean Partlow to fill the space with plants for a lush, lived-in feel. It was also important to Disler to portray the diversity of spaces within the main area, so she brought in furniture from Vancouver companies Article and Russell Hendrix to help separate the different “zones.” She wanted some space with comfortable sofas and loungers, some with communal tables and others with smaller tables for individual work. There’s also a boardroom, private pod wall, and a social kitchen where people can grab drinks on a large quartz island. “I wanted to create a space that could facilitate access to different energetic experiences through design,” she explains.

And there’s a lot more going on here than just work; Werklab also features a spacious “Zen Den,” a multi-use studio with modular walls where daily programming—Pilates classes, sound baths, meditation, and even wine tasting—takes place. Some members of the WorkLab go inside just to hang out. “We have people who will come to read a novel—I’m here for it,” says Disler. “Who are we to determine what ‘work’ is?”

Here’s a look inside.

A custom cork-panel concierge desk and painted, hung-glass partition by Vancouver’s Yuli Glass (who also did the windows in the boardroom) create a vibrant entryway on the second floor.
A seated table area inside Werklab
Werklab’s legacy, beam-and-brick industrial building was a rare gem for Disler, who jumped at the opportunity to expand its original, 2016 space onto a separate floor.
A co-working table inside Werklab's Vancouver location
The steel-top co-working tables—popular with start-up teams that want to chat and collaborate—were made by Russell Hendricks Steel, a restaurant-supply firm also located in the same building.
A photo from inside Vancouver's coworking space, Worklab
Werklab has private booths, or pods, where members can work quietly next to relaxation areas. Here, a coral lounger by Article comes equipped with a basket of essential oils, and a wrap-around curtain for members who want to take a minute to relax. “I wanted plants, I wanted earth, I wanted texture and softness,” says Disler.
A private office inside Werklab
The rentable office space features large windows to maintain the airy, light-filled feel of the space.
People standing around in the communal kitchen area of ​​the worklab
The worklab’s communal kitchen area features an open concept design where members can take a break and socialize. “My mission with Worklab is to support and facilitate a whole new experience of work,” says Disler. “We are not working like machines.”
A mural on the worklab wall by artist Julie Newton
The worklab’s Zen Den has a mural by local artist Julie Newton on the wall. The piece draws inspiration from music and books, says Disler.

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