Nature Desks/ Someș Edition
Placemaking, (co)working & local design in Cluj Napoca, Romania
The idea of Nature Desks / Someș Edition on 17 and 18 June 2017 owas inspired by a picture of the Paintbrush Factory (a collective space for contemporary arts in Cluj, Romania) team during one of the first sunny days this year: all the people were sitting - including laptops - on the Factory Terrace. In Amsterdam one of the members of Nature Desks (= coworking in urban green) exclaimed: "A spontaneous Nature Desks in Cluj Napoca!" :) From then the idea developed of ealising a project in Romania that inspires and stimulates the dialogue about how we work. It's primarily about the places we spend so many hours of working and how we use the green public space in this context.
We know about Someş Delivery - an independent project which tests community ideas ad placemaking proposals for the river Someș in Cluj Napoca. Nature Desks came up with a plan that suits the city, but also Somes Delivery. This is how Nature Desks / Someș Edition was born. A combination of placemaking, (co) working & local design.
There are two specific trends regarding workplaces: wellbeing and flexibility. We want to be trusted by our bosses and colleagues, especially since we can often choose to work in places other than in the classical office. Do we have internet and coffee? Then we can work anywhere. We want to work in places that inspire us and with colleagues of like minded people who are stimulating. We want natural light and green, a lot of green around the workplace. We want to use a bicycle to go to work. The meaning of what we call ‘our job’ is changing all around the world. The number of (co) working locations is exploding. Large companies rent spaces in coworking locations, right between start-ups and freelancers, and networks are created. The workplace is a dynamic space that suits the wishes of employees. How do you create loyalty? And ensure a satisfactory working experience?
The goal of creating a happy workplace resonates in all large, medium and small sized companies. In order to realise this companies should destroy walls and create open spaces, offer healthy lunches and stimulate sports. And cover the walls with plants, bring nature inside and embrace "the biophilic design". This trend is the focus of many research studies. A definite answer does not exist. It may be wise for companies to start from scratch and listen to the needs of the employees. And then act!
There is one thing that is certain: there is a generation out there that thinks and acts differently. A generation of "employees" with other needs, being less loyal and more demanding. These men and woman form a more mobile and independent generation. This new mentality must be seen in the context of growing urbanisation. We do not know the figures in Romania, but cities are growing in the Western European states. This is probably also the case in Romania, especially in fast developing hub cities like Cluj Napoca. Policy makers and organisations need to be prepared to cater for the people who live and work in their cities. More and more voices are urging town municipalities to invest in a natural infrastructure. A "green" city is a must.
ature Desks / Someș Edition is creating a workstation for 20 people on the banks of the river Someș. Practically we are preparing a space where business professionals can meet freelancers: exchange ideas, connect and present to each other, and simply to open their laptop and start to work. A two-day intervention to raise awareness of the importance of exposure to nature during working hours. Rethinking what the role of the river Someș can be in the lives of those working and living in Cluj: why not meet near the river Someș to work. Placemaking meets coworking.
We have invited local designers to expose their furniture and help create the temporary outdoor offices in the urban green. We hope to attract a varied group of participants (ranging from freelancers, businesses, architects, policy makers to the Someș Delivery event management). Our aim is to increase the visibility and impact of the intervention. Call it an exercise in thinking differently. In addition Nature Desks / Someș Edition is an invitation to start a dialogue between employees and employers: what we would like - what we could offer. Perhaps some are already dreaming of a "Nature Desk" in the middle of the city. We will make it happen, hoping to inspire more people to come in action in other places.
The challenges of the project are practical. The initial budget we have received from the organisation Someș Delivery will unfortunately not cover the necessary expenses to create decent working conditions: free internet, building materials, a good cup of coffee, assembly and the transportation of materials. Over the coming 10 days we are putting a lot of effort in attracting sponsors and partners. A second challenge is the PR and marketing of the event: we need to succeed in attracting the right mix of participants to Nature Deks/ Someș Edition. We do believe that Cluj-Napoca is ready to think and act differently. See you on 17 and 18 June 2017 at the bank of the Someș in Cluj Napoca, Romania.