Now more than ever, we walk the line between isolation and connectivity as we live, work, and travel. For me, the epitome of this phenomenon is to ride the NYC subway with hundreds of others, where we co-exist within mere inches of each other but each live within our individual worlds of playlists, to-do lists, and Times crosswords. We are alone, together. There is a sense of security in being surrounded by people, even if not directly interacting with them. There is also the strange sense of inclusion - and even belonging - to know that deep down, some set of shared values or choices has brought us together in this time and place
From space planning to operational models, the need to accommodate transient users and create dynamic spaces has created a shift in how we design shared spaces - especially in the workplace, hospitality spaces, and residential buildings.
In the workplace realm, modern technology first enabled us to work remotely, and then coworking spaces sprang up to counter the isolation that many freelancers experienced while working on their own. This choice to ‘opt’ back into this loosely-structured office culture reinforces the human need to be socially connected and offers a solution to our collective Fear Of Missing Out
Photos By Ryan Shaban
While the coworking model is transforming the commercial real estate market, the concept of alone, together has also found its place in both hospitality and residential industries. With the socially-oriented demoraphic in mind, hotels are choosing to devote a larger footprint to public lobbies and shared amenity spaces. From a design standpoint, these communal areas can actually target specific lifestyles and needs, rather than a generic one-size-fits all space that no one ends up using.
The living lobby at the ICRAVE-designed Sir Adam Hotel in Amsterdam is a prime example where the entire ground floor becomes an eclectic, musically-infused hub for both hotel guests and the surrounding community. The result is more than just a luxury boutique hotel with incredible city views – it also offers a multiplicity of experiences from working solo on your laptop, to eating a meal at the Butcher Social Club, to watching a soccer match on the large projection screen with hundreds of other fans.
Photos By Rony Portillo
Similarly, ICRAVE imagined the newly-opened 21 West End Avenue residential tower as a vertical village that marries elements of suburban life with high-rise luxury living. Amenity spaces (including a wine cellar, dog run, hobby shop, library, and indoor playground) transform multiple floors of the building into a natural extension of the tenants ‘ apartments. Having these ‘extra’ rooms gives residents access to offerings and experiences (solo or communal) they may not otherwise have in the tightly-packed NYC landscape. It also encourages them to engage with the space - and perhaps even one another - before escaping back to their rooms to binge-watch the latest season of Game of Thrones.