Manuel Zea is a Spanish architect, founder of 2arquitectos in 2006.
In 2007 he founded one of the first coworking spaces in Spain: WorkingSpace.
In 2010 he founded the directory Coworkingspain.es. and now works to link all the spaces and create a Spanish co-community.
We thank Manuel for answering Cowo’s 5 questions, and look forward to meet him in person in Berlin!
Has your own life changed since you practice coworking?
Since I came to the first Coworking Europe conference as a speaker, I started the directory coworkingspain.es. In the beginning we were less than 30 centers in Spain.
Last year, in junction with all coworkings in Spain, I work in growing the directory and the connection between all the coworking spaces.
Is coworking a commodity (i.e. the chance to share an office with little money) or a strategic option (i.e. a platform for all kind of sinergies)?
At the beginning it was an option of having nice office with little money, but the coworking concept grows, and spaces start being a strategic option for knowledge and synergies for freelance, and innovation center for corporation.
After all these years of discussing, I think we should know by now if business rhymes with coworking. Does it?
The business of coworking spaces still having a difficult future in Spain. Coworking managers still a bit lose in how to increase their centers. But outside Spain, centers are making really good job.
Coworking centers start to know how to make business with their centers, a lot of centers are recently open as business option and business center are looking to coworking as a product.
Considering the media craze, the flourishing of spaces, the many online tools coworking-related and… why not,this conference itself, do you envision the risk of tranforming coworking in a sort of bubble, where a minority just trying to make money spoils the beauty of the idea, ultimately depriving the word coworking of its true meaning?
The coworking concept has a big way to walk yet.
The business model is not completely validated. But when we walk all this way it could be a coworking bubble and maybe some centers without the values of the coworking are destinated to close in the future.
What are your feelings about coworking as a public service, just like schooling or health services?
I think city halls have to give entrepreneurs and freelances the tools to start or improve their business, and everything they make to help freelance improve their business will be beneficial to all.