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The Blue House: Coworking with a Co-op Soul

Written by
Julia Sevin
Published
October 16, 2015
Note: The Blue House is currently offering free coworking to AIGA members for the week of October 19-23, 2015.

If you haven’t yet found a coworking space in New Orleans that fits your vibe, there might be a community in Central City that’s right for you. Located in a historic, vivid-blue building at the intersection of South Rampart and Euterpe, in the booming Oretha Castle Haley corridor, the Blue House offers multiple membership types in what its founders call a “coworking collective.”

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Coworking Spaces in New Orleans

DSC_0990_edThe Blue House offers everything you’ve come to love about coworking spaces: a shared work areas, a relaxed commons with a kitchen and choice magazines, a meeting room, and even a library with extensive design and architecture books. But what makes this space different from other coworking spaces in the city? Its founders, with backgrounds in research, design, advocacy, urban planning, and community development call it more than a traditional coworking space. They explained, “It’s built to be a home for collaboration; a community where designers, writers, researchers, artists, activists, developers, teachers, entrepreneurs and freelancers of all types can come together to share and shape a new kind of workspace.”

Co-founder Gilad Meron gave us his thoughts on what the space is working to become. “We started talking about it in the summer of 2014. We wanted to have a collaborative workspace where we could be around other creative and ambitious people and really feel like a sense of community… sort of similar to being in a design studio in college.” Since opening the space in December 2014, Meron and partners Aron Chang and Patrick Jones have worked to position the community to take on its own shape, with individual members developing a sense of collective ownership of the Blue House. Members have been responsible for events ranging from communal dinners to art openings, discussion groups, reading groups, and film screenings.  

Collaboration by Design

DSC_0981_ed copyCollaboration is at the core of the Blue House’s mission. To help describe their philosophy of informally encouraging interaction and organically building relationships between members, Meron explained the Swedish social institution of Fika (both a verb and noun, pronounced “fee-ka”). A shared coffee break during which professionals decompress and chat, Fika is something the Blue House offers on a weekly basis to members, neighbors, and the broader community. “We’ve built in rituals like these that provide opportunities for members as well as neighbors and invited guests, and to get to know one another and share ideas,” said Meron. Fika, which happens every Thursday at 10 a.m., is open to the public and all are encouraged to stop by.

Coworking at The Blue House

Membership is available at several levels, detailed on their website. As the Blue House grows, its founders are looking for more helping hands: they’re currently offering a work-trade arrangement for those willing to contribute their time in exchange for taking on specific tasks critical to the daily operations and growth of the community. Opportunities for every skill set range from site management to curating exhibits and discussion groups, or developing graphics or newsletters. If interested, stop by or contact howdy@thebluehousenola.com.

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