Remote Working: The Best Co-Working Spaces in the City

Allie Abgarian

This is Remote Working 2.0. with our list of the City’s best co-working spaces.

Did you know that there are over 2 million freelancers in the UK? One fifth of them are based in London: that’s 420,000 freelancers, just wandering around the streets of the capital, constantly on the hunt for somewhere nice to sit and get their work done.

OK — some of them probably have home offices. But, sometimes you just want company or a different environment to spark some creativity. Long gone are the days of choosing between a tourist-filled Starbucks or a crowded hipster café, serving over-priced coffee and avocado on toast.

Well, we don’t really mind that last part — avocado is tasty.

City Pavillion Lounge

CITY PAVILLION – Who says you have to work from a desk? Here, you can settle into a designer armchair or sofa. The City Pavillion was built for the trendy: open spaces, a sun spot on the roof terrace and a bike repair shop. There’s a Gymbox with luxury showers, too — in case you want to lift some weights at lunch. Hot Desk for £275 per month or get a fixed desk for £600.

The Clubhouse Lounge

THE CLUBHOUSE – Less hipster, more glam. The Clubhouse is where the freelance suits come to work, with four locations available in London areas including Bank, Mayfair, St. James’s and Holborn. As a member, you can enjoy the luxuries of an in-house deli, a concierge service, phone booths and Apple computers, charging lockers, bike racks, showers and a courier service.  Membership starts at £950, with the most exclusive members paying £4,250 (and that’s just for an individual). If you fancy trying before buying, the house also does does day passes for £75.

THE CANVAS – You didn’t think we’d write a list on remote working and not include Shoreditch, did you? The Canvas is just as quirky as you’d expect and a perfect location for freelancers who can’t afford to splurge on a monthly desk. Step into the café’s Community Hub for free — a room that’ll remind you of school days, with its chalk boards and hand-written notes all over the walls. And yes, the food is vegan.

Corgi in glasses

FORGE & CO. – Another Shoreditch co-working gem, quite possibly our favourite. Not because of the super-speed WiFi or the complimentary hot drinks. No, Forge & Co. has made the list because it’s pet-friendly. That’s right, you can bring your pooch along. There’s a rooftop garden with benches for the humans and a sunbed for your furry friends. Get yourself a fixed desk for £400 / month, no extra cost for animals.

WeWork Office

WEWORK – One of the original co-working companies, WeWork has spaces across the capital. That includes the former-warehouse-turned-millennial-office-haven in Devonshire Square, with brick walls, comfy sofas and indie art. Surrounded by restaurants, bars and health shops like Planet Organic, it’s ultimately placed, a stone’s throw from Liverpool Street and the ultimate spot for freelancers who like to socialise after a hard day’s work. Prices start at £350 / month for a hot desk but there are private offices available as well — suitable for start-ups with team members on a flexible schedule.

Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 14-18: The City Celebrates the Centenary of the End of the First World War

Nicole R.Nolan

There survives one final witness to the horrors of WWI: “the fields of battles themselves”. On this premise, and taking place outdoors in Guildhall Yard by permission of the Corporation of the City of London, this “final in a series of photographic exhibitions” (brought to viewers by Michael St Maur Sheil) explores “how time and nature have healed the scars of war”; the Great War, specifically. Very much tilted to a global perspective on the “nature of conflict” and the potential for “peace and reconciliation”, this major photographic exhibition comes to the capital at the end of the month, on 30th April, and runs until 28th May.

Far from being predominantly British focused, St Maur Sheil’s exhibition includes for the viewpoints of both the Commonwealth and the wider global community. Inspired by the words of a veteran, that “in time the country would come back to life, the grass would grow again, the wild flowers return”, St Maur Sheil has studied in particular the natural landscape where atrocious bloodshed took place, searching for the realisation or otherwise of that veteran’s prophecy. It is up to the viewer of these images to decide whether indeed the Fallen have lain “still and at peace below the singing birds, beside the serenely flowing rivers” or not. Indeed, whether the audience’s accord is decided or not (no images of the actual, visceral horror of war are included here), it is a fact irrefutable that those many, many deaths will “be part of us forever”.

Come to fruition through generous funding from Ashford Borough Council and the U.S. National WWI Museum and Memorial, as well as public donations and participation from peoples of many different countries – this exhibition, with its open-armed “spirit of fellowship”, seeks to heal via its very existence, as much as portray the natural healing process of time itself since that terrible moment in history. Over 10 million people in nine countries (including France, Turkey, and New Zealand) have been witness to the power of St Maur Sheil’s exhibition. Now is London, is Britain’s turn.

A blend of St Maur Sheil’s “contemporary battlefield images” and “meticulously researched content including archive images and fascinating facts”, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 14-18 (a registered not-for-profit charity) is absolutely free to the public, aiming to educate young and old alike in this very much shared history. As Jonathan Prince (Chief Executive of this charitable trust) mentions, although 59% of people in the UK have visited a war memorial, local or national, shockingly seven in ten have no idea what part their own relatives played back then. In his own words, “It is precisely this gap between interest and understanding of community and familial roles and changes in the War, that [these] photographs and interpretations are designed to address”.

If you don’t manage to wander around Guildhall Yard, after the City’s slot has ended St Maur Sheil’s exhibition will go on tour, travelling first to Ashford, Kent from Sunday 3rd June, then on to Worcester from 1st September, before returning to London, this time in St. James’ Park (with permission by The Royal Parks) from 6th October.

London Games Festival 2018 – Celebrating the Business of Video Games in the City

Nicole R.Nolan

From 5th to 15th April, London Games Festival returns to the capital, 50,000 having attended last year. Delivered by Games London (a three-year initiative from Film London and the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment), with its £1.2million funding from the London Enterprise Action Panel this third year of the Festival aims once more to make London the “games capital of the world”. This year, however, the Festival aims to go “even further” than its forty plus events and twenty plus locations of 2017, with “even bigger” the ethos au moment for the gaming community in 2018.

Though a large proportion of the events take place elsewhere in the capital – notably Trafalgar Square and other central areas when it comes to discussions and “summits and forums about the issues and trends” which affect the industry – those in the City of London nonetheless have much to look forward to as well, being especially an extended and family-friendly opportunity to partake in “cosplay parades and game art exhibitions”. With hard work must come an iota of pleasure, after all.

And that’s where the Festival Fringe comes in, too, complementing the main action. Of particular interest to those old enough to drink should be the SNES Gaming Lounge at the Ace Hotel, Shoreditch (Sunday 15th April, 12pm to 4pm). A free event as long as you RSVP online, the SNES Gaming Lounge takes place in the Lobby of the Ace Hotel, a “Super Nintendo Mini hooked up to a HD Projector” with the overarching opportunity to win a £100 bar tab therein by proving one’s gaming skills at “Super Mario Kart, Street Fighter 2 Turbo: Hyper Fighting and F-Zero”. Cheers to that!

 

However, the main City of London event within the London Games Festival is the Games Character Parade on Saturday 14th April. This “one-of-a-kind” parade welcomes “both video games-inspired cosplayers of all experience levels plus official mascots and characters” and begins at 12.30pm in Guildhall Yard. It then travels through pertinent City of London landmarks (St. Paul’s Cathedral, New Change, and Bow Lane) before returning to its point of origin for photo shoots and prizes. The purpose is to share and promote the love of gaming, of course (as well as delighting in a little dress-up). Entry is free, but you must register online beforehand in order to take part. Given the public nature of a parade, it goes without saying that all costumes must adhere to family-friendly decency rules and expectations.

 

If you run short of time getting together a suitable costume, do note that just beforehand (10.30am to 11.30am) there will be a Superhero boxhead (á la Minecraft characters) and mask-making workshop taking place in the Guildhall Art Gallery. Further, if you (or a younger member of your group) have been inspired post-parade, there’ll be another workshop running from 1.45pm to 3.30pm. And for tweens and young adults, the character outfit craft workshop run by “artists Supergirl, aka Samia Tossio, and Iron Man, aka Simon Honey” might be just the ticket.

 

Spring Delights – Forthcoming Piano Concerts at St Lawrence Jewry

Nicole R.Nolan

Though meteorologists may yet warn of a continuation of this year’s recent poor weather, what better way to lift City of London spirits while this distinctly British gloom lingers over the capital than in listening to beautiful music performed within the walls of the aesthetically pleasing St Lawrence Jewry in Guildhall Yard? In tandem with determined daffodils and other seasonal blooms (gradually bursting forth in colourful pockets upon the urban landscape, despite the still-fallen mercury), the programme for St Lawrence Jewry’s piano concerts this month is sure to warm the soul (not to mention please beyond measure the ears, too).

Carrying on with its established Monday musical slots, the lunch hour on 9th April will see the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Master Graduate piano soloist (and London Philharmonic Orchestra’s 2016/2017 Foyle Future Firsts pianist) Antonio Oyarzábal ring out a Spanish warmth on the church’s ivories. Originally from Bilbao, Oyarzábal’s proffered selection will include Enrique Granados’ late nineteenth century Valses Poéticos – composed at a time when he was moving from Barcelona to Paris – and twentieth century Catalan composer Federico Mompou’s Scenes d’enfants, whose own music was greatly inspired by the French Impressionists.

On Monday 23rd April (do note that St Lawrence Jewry will be closed on Monday 16th April), hugely talented British concert pianist Yasmin Rowe will be returning to the church (having performed beneath its seventeenth century décor back in 2016) in order to delight listeners with Beethoven’s 1798 Sonata No.7 in D major Op.10 No.3, together with Bach-Busoni’s Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004 (a piece Brahms raved over in a letter to Clara Schumann for its “whole world of deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings”), and Poulenc’s early work, Trois pièces (music which was composed in direct contrast to that of Wagner and the Impressionistic style to be enjoyed from Oyarzábal’s recital).

The month’s programme will come to a close on Monday 30th April, when the acclaimed Japanese pianist Ikuko Inoguchi will enchant in a performance that combines Britten’s Night Piece (Noctturno), Chopin’s Berceuse Op.57, and a selection of six of Debussy’s late masterpieces, the virtuosic 12 Études (No 8 Pour les agréments; No 1 Pour les Cinq doigts, d’après Monsieur Cherny; No 2 Pour les tierces; No 11 Pour les arpèges composés; No 3 Pour les quarts; and No 5 Pour les octaves).

Fret not if you are unable to make the trio of keyboard choices in April, as May’s double offering includes young Estonian pianist Maksim Štšura (prizewinner of the St Lawrence Jewry and Worshipful Company of Musicians Scheme) performing an unusual selection of works on 14th May – music from Eino Tamberg, Mart Saar, and Heino Eller, together with Hans Von Bulow’s arrangement of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg: Prelude.

Furthermore, the masterful Belarussian pianist Olga Stezhko will take to the church’s stage the following week, on Monday 21st May, with an extensive programme of Debussy’s Épigraphs antiques, together with another chance to hear Poulenc’s Trois pièces if you missed Yasmin Rowe’s interpretation – all opened with Scriabin’s Two Dances Op.73 and closed with his Sonata Op.10. Given this is also entitled Kisses of the Sun, no doubt Stezhko and St Lawrence Jewry hint at a hope that May’s close might finally live up to the City of London’s own long-held summery expectations.

Dramatic and Musical Pickings at The Bridewell Theatre this Spring

Nicole R.Nolan

Once, people went to Bridewell for a swim; now, they come to attend an afternoon or evening of theatrical enjoyment in the City. The pool may be long-gone from this part of Fleet Street, but since 1994 The Bridewell Theatre and its bar have kept visitors more than culturally satisfied. Spring being the season not too far removed from purposeful New Year self-betterment, make April the month your London lifestyle dips a toe in the dramatic and musical arts, too.

1. You Can’t Take It With You (10th to 14th April, 7.30pm to 10pm)

Written by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman in 1936, You Can’t Take It With You (directed here by Nick Mouton) is a “biting comedy” in which “non-conformity” is celebrated with relish. When the “freethinking” Sycamore family’s beloved daughter brings home her ultra Conservative fiancé and his parents, the night goes… rather wrong.

Winner of the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, You Can’t Take It With You was adapted for the silver screen in 1938, an Oscar-winning film that starred James Stewart. The play was revived on Broadway in 2014, with James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne in leading roles.

Presented by the resident Bridewell company, Sedos, there is also a matinee performance at 2.30pm on Saturday 14th April. Tickets cost between £11.50 and 18.50 and can be purchased here.

2. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum (21st to 25th April, 7.30pm to 10pm)

First opened on Broadway in 1962, this well-known show (written by Steven Sondheim, Burt Shevelove, and Larry Gelbert) has entertained audiences with its “sumptuous melodies and general silliness” ever since. Dubbed an “hysterical farce of a musical”, the action takes place in 200 BC and follows the slave Pseudolus as she attempts to win her freedom by helping her master woo the girl next door. Based on a play by Plautus, this “bawdy story” (here directed by Samuel Wood and presented by the London School of Musical Theatre) is sure to delight on a spring night in the City.

Do note that there is no evening performance on Sunday 22nd April, but matinees are available over that weekend (3pm start). Tickets cost £17 and can be purchased here.

3. Lock Up Your Daughters (30th April to 4th May, 7.30pm to 10pm)

Also presented by the London School of Musical Theatre this month is Bernard Miles’ adaptation of Layrie Johnson and Lionel Bart’s play, based on Henry Fielding’s original political satire. Set in 1730 – a Georgian era London “licentious, corrupt, and brutal” – this musical is a wonderfully dark foray into a “vivid, visceral world” both Hogarthian and Tyburnian. Directed by Erica Gould, this “shocking” piece of musical drama remains poignantly relevant, exploring as it does “such issues as judicial corruption, fake news, misogyny, and sexual harassment”.

There is also a matinee performance at 3pm on Wednesday 2nd May. Tickets cost £17 and can be purchased here.

If, of course, you’ve only time in your lunch hour for some cultural refuelling, you’ll be pleased to hear that Bridewell offers “Lunchbox Theatre” performances, too. With curtain up at 1pm, telephone the Box Office on 020 7353 3331 for further information on these light-bite 45-minute shows.