Artiq fuel creativity through a WFH workation

Is the working from hotels trend (WFH) living up to the hype? The team at Artiq think so creative people need creative spaces, so over the course of a week, members of Artiq’s  team went on a workcation, checking out some of the most well-regarded working spaces in London’s hotels…

laptop on a table in hotel restaurant working environment

The line between work and leisure has become increasingly blurred. Although the trend has been on the rise for some time, the pandemic, which saw us making banana bread and taking work calls from the same table, brought this debate to the forefront. Adding to the mix is the conversation about work-life balance. It’s tough to disagree with the idea that finding a healthy middle ground between our job responsibilities and personal relaxation is vital for our overall wellness. However, looking at it from another angle, the idea of pitting these two as opposites seems to suggest that work is the villain, a strictly burdensome task that needs to be counterbalanced with the joy and positivity of personal life. This perspective doesn’t feel entirely right either.

Image credit: Beckett Lodge

Parallel to this debate, or perhaps because of it, is the rising trend of multi-purpose environments, particularly in high-density urban areas, where the most interesting (to us) being the merging of workspaces and hotels. It feels like the best of two worlds: flexible workspaces are in demand and hotels already have space and service infrastructure to cater to the needs of workers.

Library Lounge inside The Standard London

Image credit: The Standard London

Artiq knows both of these industries well. Curating art collections and experiences for global clients across the workplace and hospitality sectors, it has witnessed first-hand the increasing overlap between the two. Traditional office spaces are adapting to accommodate hospitality-inspired features, while more and more hotels are designed to encourage drop-ins from working professionals.

Inbetween meetings and masterplans, while out and about in the city, hotels are often a preferred choice to work from and there is an abundance of beautifully designed hotels, that not only cater for productive working but also boost creativity. To discover which spaces work best Artiq team members went undercover to explore and experience some of the best WFH spaces that London has to offer.

Isabelle Guyer, Curator and Alexandra Vanburen Callender, Art Research Intern

The first thing that caught our eyes when arriving at Locke at Broken Wharf was the sleek interior, with its low sofas and styled coffee tables. The space felt designed to encourage focused work, with a neutral colour palette and chill background music. A couple of people had quiet chatter, but this was a good thing for us – it contributed to the space feeling welcoming and relaxing rather than a strict workspace. We also met here to catch up before a nearby meeting, so it wouldn’t have worked if the space was too quiet, like a library.

The use of plants softened the space, giving a nice balance to the minimalist, industrial design. Similarly, the low ceilings were balanced with big windows; lots of daylight is a must for productivity. We were lucky to come here on a sunny day, so the table and chairs outside in the sun next to the river offered a great alternative for short breaks. Locke by Broken Warf is tucked away just by the river and it was surprisingly quiet for being so central in a hectic city. The only thing missing was a lie down in one the suites – Artiq curated the collection for the apartment here a few years back, and we would have loved to stay the night.

Meela Thurloway, Workplace Art Consultant

I came to The Standard to spend an afternoon working in The Library Lounge, the site of the former Camden Council Library. This space pays tribute to its former purpose yet with a contemporary edge whilst the décor throughout is extremely considered – a mid-century retro aesthetic with playful pops. As you enter through the main revolving doors, behind the reception desk is a geometric tile feature wall by artist Lubna Chowdhary and these shapes and palettes that are echoed throughout the property.

The space is laptop-friendly and being modelled on an actual library, it’s the perfect working environment. There are tables at varying heights. The work-desks are perfect for laptops, whilst the low relaxed seating is great for coffee meetings. There’s also real homely feel to the space with cosy fireplaces and greenery throughout the space and a cool casual charm.

It also had a good, undistracting playlist (not your typical hotel lobby tunes, more soulful with some contemporary jazz). The space is mood-lit, whilst this was no problem for me, some may find it a little dark. A big plus for lovely staff: from 6 pm the main library is a laptop-free zone and a polite 5.15 pm warning advised me that I could continue working around the corner.

The Library Lounge has a cool elegance to it and felt like a really creative space. It would be the perfect spot for meeting, whether with clients or artists! The décor and attention to detail throughout the space made it feels like a creative oasis away from the chaos of King’s Cross.

Fiorella Gianini, Hospitality Art Consultant

restaurant seating and workspace in The Hart shoreditch

Image credit: Artiq

I started my day in Hart Shoreditch before a long day of meetings, as I had heard they have a great space for working. Artiq curated part of the art collection here a few years back, so I was excited to visit the space.

There were different areas where you could sit to work or take calls, which allowed you to pick and choose depending on your mood. The desks at the entrance felt more like serious business while the sitting area had a laid-back vibe and the café allowed you to hide at the back if looking for peace and quiet, which is where I decided to sit for a while.

It felt nice to have a change of scenery and looking at a different space felt inspiring. I’m always looking for inspiration and while sitting at the café I could spot some minimalist works of art hanged in a playful way. The café also has decorations all over the ceiling – an idea I would love to explore in one of my other projects.

Having different options to choose from was a plus and the feeling of being abroad that a hotel gives you made the experience more interesting. It felt like a mid-week break, despite just being a 20-minute walk from Artiq’s office.

Henry Dowson, Associate Curator

blue walls, wooden floors and patterned fabric on upholstered chairs in restaurant and bar setting

Image credit: Firmdale Hotels

The Charlotte Street Hotel is located in central London, next to Goodge Street Tube station, with easy access by public transport or other means. I arrived at the hotel around 10 am and found the café workspace easily, as it was next to the entrance.

The interior was an interesting mix of a French bistro with quaint British heritage design and a somewhat jazzy wallpaper surrounding the space. The rest of the hotel was also nicely decorated, with some standout pieces of art, especially an eye-catching sculpture as you walk into the hotel, of an oversized dog.

The space I worked in, Oscar Bar & Restaurant, has a great atmosphere. However, if you’re after somewhere to buckle down on your laptop for hours on end, perhaps this may not be the place for you, as the lack of easily accessible wall plugs might put a timer on your visit. Nonetheless, it was perfect for a midway coffee or a relaxed meeting.

Artiq is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.

Main image credit: Artiq