On the West Coast, one co-working space aims for a ‘full and balanced lifestyle’

Victoria, Canada – In a world where digital connection is at our fingertips, freelance and remote workers are increasingly seeking real-world experiences to counterbalance their online lives. In Victoria one co-working provider addresses that need with Kwench, a ‘full-service work and culture club for creative, ambitious thinkers and doers who want more than co-working,’ says spokesperson Eva Ravenstain.

Kwench is the brainchild of founder and director Tessa McLoughlin. Previously, she helped manage several local community initiatives before being invited to produce a private co-working space for a client. While working on this space McLoughlin realized she wanted to take her ideas for community-building to a larger, more widely-accessible scale. In 2017, McLoughlin launched the first iteration of Kwench club. Since then, she has joined forces with local interiors practice Hansenbuilt Design and MJM Architecture to convert a formally derelict attic space into 2,300 sq-m of co-working facilities that is the present-day Kwench space.

Above all, Kwench seeks to promote ‘health and happiness’ among its employees. Its manifesto: to offer a workplace balance of knowledge, wellness, experiences, novelty, curiosity and connection. As such, the interior includes the expected office spaces and boardrooms, but also offers amenities such as fitness facilities, a library, an art room, dining areas and a kitchen and bar area. In all, the company offers 24 office spaces for groups of one to 28 employees. Since its conception, Kwench has been completely founded, funded and operated by a team of women.

Situated in a heritage building in the Old Town district of Victoria, the Kwench club was actually commissioned back in 1889 by The National Electric to house Victoria’s streetcars. This original structure was preserved wherever possible throughout the workspace. Wooden structural beams were left exposed, new skylights added to make use of daylighting, and the original partition walls left in place. Two formerly separate roof peaks were merged via a glass atrium to form Kwench’s central community space. Canadian design highlights include lighting by Kurva Design, greenspace design by Botanic Creative, the bespoke kitchen mural by Paula Gonzales of Phaulet and an entrance mural by Lydia Beauregard.

‘I wanted to create a space where members had access to all the resources they need to live a full and balanced lifestyle’, says McLoughlin.

hansenbuilt.com

mjmarchitect.ca

Location 2031 Store St, Victoria, BC V8T 5L9, Canada

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