In our Workspace series, CB is featuring interesting, smart-designed and one-of-a-kind spaces across Canada. From innovative home offices to out-of-the-box co-working spaces to unconventional setups—like this beauty company run out of a rural farmhouse—we are looking to showcase the most unique and beautiful spaces from all industries. This month we are profiling co-working space, Spacial.
Tucked between a bank and a shoe store, Spacial, Montreal’s newest co-working space, is easy to miss. The facade is subdued, just brick and glass. But inside, the look is ’80s nightclub meets tech start-up: plush velvet banquettes, fired-zinc-framed doorways and light-grey terrazzo floors.
Co-founders Gabriel Chauvin, a former restaurant manager, and Kai Zhang, a real-estate exec, had the idea for a co-working space in Montreal’s Verdun area back in early 2019 after noticing that the neighbourhood’s demographic was shifting to a younger and upwardly mobile crowd. Coffee shops and no-waste bulk-food stores had already started to pop up in a bid to win over these new residents, but there still wasn’t a high-end co-working space suitable for a generation that values flexible work options and creative design. Spacial finally opened on Rue Wellington last May, just as the city was coming back to life after pandemic lockdowns.
“We were instantly charmed,” says Pascal Genevieve, general director of Carbon Consult Group and Spacial’s very first tenant. CCG, a firm that helps businesses reduce their carbon footprint, rents two private rooms for its staff of 10—one for quiet work and another for collaborating. Before the pandemic, the team found themselves outgrowing their traditional office building one block north, and Genevieve says that when it was time to return to in-person work, the move to a co-working set-up just made sense: “At Spacial, there’s the option to add offices as we grow. Plus, the space is just a lot more impressive for when we host clients.”
A full third of that 840-square-metre space is dedicated to socializing and events and includes a lounge with a movie projector and a kitchen stocked with goods from neighbouring businesses, including coffee beans roasted by Station W Café and pastries from Patisserie Wellington. Designed by local firm Ivy Studio, the space—previously a martial-arts gym—is an ode to the surrounding businesses and the vitality of the neighbourhood.
Spacial currently has 14 clients, each with an average of four employees. Tenants pay from $350 per month for a hot desk to $900 and up for a private room, which also includes high-speed wifi, support from the on-site receptionist and mail service. They come from a range of industries: tech security, engineering, immigration, architecture. Genevieve says one of the best perks of working there has been the networking opportunities, noting that several other Spacial tenants recently attended a CCG roundtable on sustainability.
That kind of community-building is all part of Chauvin and Zhang’s grand design to bring together the growing number of creative freelancers and innovative start- ups setting up shop in Verdun.
“We believe this is a place not only to do our work,” says Genevieve, “but also to form new partnerships and find future opportunities.”