Seth Godin once wrote, “who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams lead to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.” The coworking space and community Friends Work Here in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn is a space where those collisions happen.
Tina Roth Eisenberg, founder of CreativeMornings, Tattly, TeuxDeux and Creative Guild, says that Friends Work Here, the coworking space she founded, has completely changed how she approaches life and her work. “My coworking space, and the people, have changed my circle,” says Roth Eisenberg. Case in point, the TeuxDeux app was conceived of and built within three days with engineering and design studio Fictive Kin in the first incarnation of the space.
Initially started in 2008 as Studiomates in Dumbo, the space was reframed as Friends Work Here after a move to the historic factory building and home of The Invisible Dog Art Center in Boerum Hill. A carefully considered application process means the space is filled with kind, driven, and generous individuals who inspire one another to be a little more creative, a little bolder, and a little more believing in themselves.
The thoughtful layout of the studio allows for both focused work and connection. The “workspace” area is a dedicated quiet zone, whereas the common areas have a more relaxed, collaborative vibe, explains studio manager and illustrator, Liz Ryan.
“Having both is essential. The glass doors separating the two areas communicate this boundary, which is fantastic because it empowers you to nonverbally signal where you’re at with your own workflow.” The workspace is an expansive room with a mix of dedicated desks for full-time “Friends” as well as spaces for floaters who use the space part-time or while visiting from out-of-town and abroad.
Beyond the placemaking details that make Friends Work Here conducive to both productivity and connection, they host a smattering of regular events: live music concerts on the fire escape, happy hour where members and friends-of do show and tells, and an annual Friendsgiving in collaboration with downstairs neighbors CreativeMornings and Tattly. “Our happy hours are the heartbeat of the studio,” says Ryan. “We learn about and celebrate members of our community and welcome previous members and friends-of-Friends.”
Members can reset or connect in the common areas in a variety of cozy nooks, on the indoor swing, or at the communal dining table over lunch. Color-coded bookshelves and wall-mounted magazine racks provide a variety of printed reference and inspiration sources.
Friends Work Here reaches beyond members to the entire neighborhood. “The first fire escape concert exceeded our expectations. It was such an inclusive community event, with passersby and neighbors hanging and meeting for the first time. All it took was music on a fire escape to bring people together,” adds Ryan.
On an idle Tuesday afternoon, you might walk down Bergen Street in Boerum Hill and spot bubbles descending from the building, an extension of the whimsy of the space and an invitation to extend the circle of friends.