Co-working spaces are rapidly increasing in number across Australia’s major cities, leading some to look at more radical measures to make them stand out.
My Business got to go behind the scenes of the new Kafnu space in Sydney’s Alexandria ahead of its official opening on 1 March 2019.
As well as the working stations, conference rooms, private rooms and communal kitchen expected of such spaces, the 3,000-square-metre Kafnu centre can accommodate up to 400 people and includes a fully equipped media production and podcasting studio, photo studio and boutique gin bar.
The site also incorporates 16 hotel rooms, allowing business visitors to Sydney to both work and stay at the same location. Other notable facilities are one of only two Oxygen chairs (or “breathing” chairs) in Australia, and a virtual fitness studio (pictured) — which the company said is the first of its kind in a co-working club.
It sits next door to the famed Grounds of Alexandria, a foodie precinct popular with local workers and residents.
Owned by international hospitality group Next Story Group, Kafnu Alexandria is the first Kafnu-branded space to open in Australia, with other locations already established in Hong Kong, Taiwan and India.
“We are excited to introduce the Kafnu brand to Australia,” its general manager, Simon Hall, said.
“We are building a vibrant community of hyphenates, entrepreneurs and trailblazers, and we will support their success through bespoke activities, including talks, workshops, seminars and industry-specific events that facilitate networking and collaboration.”
A spokesperson said that Kafnu is in talks to launch other sites in Australia, but that “nothing is set in stone yet”.
Also in March, another Asia-focused company is set to launch in Australia, with the unveiling of two “co-living” properties, both in Sydney.
Singapore-headquartered Hmlet — pronounced “Hamlet” — will open the doors on sites in Newtown and Marrickville in the city’s inner west.
Hmlet @ Newtown, which the company said is “among the first purpose-built co-living properties in Australia”, will provide communal living and working spaces, as well as a rooftop terrace, that will accommodate up to 20 people.
A new hospitality venue is also planned as part of the development, to open later in the year.
Meanwhile, Hmlet @ Marrickville is claimed to be “one of the largest built-to-rent project[s] in Sydney’s inner west”, which will become home to at least 70 members over six levels, spanning 2,400 square metres.
“Changing the way people live around the world is our mission at Hmlet. With the growing demand for more flexible, community-based options of living in cities like Sydney, we felt that Australia was the next natural move for us,” the company’s CEO and co-founder, Yoan Kamalski, said.
“We are excited to be expanding our brand and look forward to welcoming many more people to experience Hmlet’s community in Australia.”
More sites are planned for Sydney, to be unveiled over the coming months, while Hmlet is also looking to expand into Melbourne and Brisbane.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.