A few weeks ago and before ending 2016, we decided to take our bags for one last coworking exploration travel. After visiting ten different European cities, it was time to explore how coworking is done outside Europe.
We chose Istanbul, one of the most populated cities in the world. Our goal was to understand why is coworking developing there and how people experience it. While preparing our trip and doing research about coworking spaces based there, we were astonished to find only six key players for a city of 15 million inhabitants. During the four days we spent there, we were able to visit them all and dig deeper into the coworking topic.
We started with Istanbul latest addition to coworking: Habita where we met with Levent, one of the co-founders of the place and had a long chat about their journey into building a coworking space from scratch.
After a long career as consultants, Levent, and his co-founders decided it was time for them to free themselves from the sharp-edged borders of corporate life and its bureaucracy. They always had this wish, in the back of their head, to build a place one day where they can meet and host people who want to work from an inspiring place to do what they love and focus on having a positive impact on the society. As you can imagine, they made their wish come true by bringing Habita to life.
They found an amazing building, formerly a warehouse, and transformed it into a bright and colorful place which we were happy to visit together with Levent and you. Yes you! We decided to capture the moment by making a Facebook live that you can watch again and again right here.
After the tour, we started a discussion about their first coworking day, when they were finally ready to open to members after few months of construction. We understood how much work, time and effort they put together to make the place look like what you see on the video. The three co-founders learned a lot of things by doing, such as promoting their space, getting their first members, hiring their first employees or organizing their first events. Even though there are a lot of material available online, sharing, for instance, insights on how to start a coworking space, individuals who build their own place have to transform their findings into something that fits their vision and DNA, which Habita did extremely well. They took the time to document themselves, meet fellow coworking space owners and visit similar places from which they took advice and inspiration to build what they have today.
Where does Habita stand today?
When we visited them, we were glad to know that after few months of opening, they already had several Habitans (the nickname they give to their Members) with different and complementary backgrounds. While there, we experienced the good synergy that exists between teams and saw how the place allow them to interact easily by being so open. For instance, we met a startup which develops a product that transforms small and medium size buildings into smarter places and Levent told us there was also an architect, a UX designer, an illustrator and many more work stories gravitating around here. The community have a common value in common with the place and even the logo:
sharing the place – Habita is a shared environment where the main coworking area is also home to the event space. Since it opened, Habita hosted a considerable amount of the events to allow people from the outside to discover the place. They hosted tech meetups, startup events, and even Brazilian music band.
sharing their identity – The last expression of sharing lies in their logo. If you look at the Habita logo, you will see their representation of sharing: a desk (the central line) with two people, one on each side.
Levent inspired us in many ways. With his the story, he gave us a good example of what dedication means and we are truly grateful for the time he gave us. Before leaving Habita, we honored our ritual and took a happy selfie with him.
He took us to a delicious canteen next door where we enjoyed fresh Turkish food. After lunch, he brought us to our next meeting, which was 2 minutes away from his space.
Can you guess where we went next?
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