Creating a Space for
Work, Rest and Play
It takes more than desks, chairs, and beanbags to create an
effective co-working space. Canvas Offices, a high-end flexible
office space provider in London with an emphasis on indoor air
quality and employee wellbeing, was founded by
Yaron Rosenblum on this principle.
Text by Ed Cooper
Photography by Malcolm Griffiths
In recent years, the concept of co-working has gained immense popularity among entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners looking for flexible and collaborative workspaces. One such co-working space that has made a name for itself in this industry is Canvas Offices, co-founded by Yara Rosenblum.
What sets Canvas apart from other co-working spaces is its emphasis on creating a conducive and healthy work environment through proper ventilation, air flow and capitalizing on natural light. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of indoor air quality has become more critical than ever, and Canvas has taken significant steps to ensure its members are breathing fresh air throughout their working day.
The design and layout of Canvas have been carefully thought out to facilitate efficient air flow and circulation throughout the workspace. From choosing the right locations, placing importance on natural light, and only using buildings with natural air flow, Canvas has implemented several strategies to enhance air quality and create a healthy and productive work environment.
In this article, we will explore in detail how Canvas has prioritized indoor air quality in its co-working space, the benefits it offers to its members, and the core pillars that Rosenblum has built Canvas on across 12 locations in central London.
As a business owner, how vital is indoor air quality within a working environment?
One of the most important things for both us as a brand and our real estate strategy is actually checking — before we take any new building — that it has openable windows and good floor plans that allow natural light to come in. Within wellbeing, fresh air and natural light are the most important things for us because of how important it is for the people who use our spaces.
Why is fresh air so important for the buildings that Canvas chooses?
As the founder of a business, I’ve gone into a skyscraper — or any building without openable windows — and it makes me feel claustrophobic. On the architectural side, giving people the choice to have the simple exercise of opening a window and getting fresh air is part of the angle we take as business owners. There’re opportunities out there with unutilized buildings. People don’t see the potential, but we do.
It’s part of our design strategy, from exposing structural materials of the building to make it more authentic to providing improved air quality for people using the space. It’s part of our ethos, being true to what people really need to be creative and have a good work environment.
With properties in stylish Duke Street and bustling Brick Lane, what buildings do you tend to use for co-working spaces?
There’re so many interesting Georgian- and Victorian-period buildings that, previously, were residential, but have now become commercial office buildings. By providing a design twist and allowing the layout to accommodate offices, it’s fascinating to see how high the demand is when you allow people to have access to these beautiful spaces with fireplaces, openable windows natural light. We almost never take a building if you can’t open the windows.
How do you approach client and employee wellbeing in the Canvas spaces across London?
We are a flexible provider. ‘Flexibility’ is not an industry name or a label, it’s a way of life and what people are thriving on today. It’s not about tying them to a long-term commitment, but being flexible for the new generation and the creative classes.
What is the relationship between air quality and creativity?
It has been evidenced by research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Poor office ventilation affects biological systems, such as the human body.
And air quality in the workplace should always be a fundamental consideration for any business given its powerful benefits such as boosting employee performance and cognitive ability. That’s why understanding the vital role that air quality plays should never be understated or taken for granted.
What role do you think air-purifying technology, like Panasonic’s nanoe-X, can provide to businesses?
Fresh air is essential for the physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing of people. It’s imperative that it’s addressed by any progressive company that places a premium on the wellbeing of its staff.
In many modern buildings, it’s impossible to even open a window, so a technology that can replicate the natural world is a marvel for any office ecosystem.
What design principles do you work toward?
We’ve taken the ‘resimercial’ side to our buildings, by taking commercial buildings and making them feel homely for clients and commercial businesses. At the top of the list is working on a feeling of belonging and, while we live by the values of sustainability and being eco-friendly, it’s one of the most important pillars of the brand. If you don’t create a space where people can belong and people can be together, why should they leave home?
What is the philosophy at Canvas?
I think it's a place they can call home, a place they can belong, and a place they can collaborate with other like-minded people. It’s about community for us. Belonging and wellbeing. We like to believe that we operate as a place that allows people, whether it’s a four-person start-up, or a unicorn size business, to have something that doesn't cost you an arm and a leg.
What features do you make sure to include in each space?
You will never see us in buildings with carpets and neon lights because we are there to facilitate the creative class. Instead, it will feature authentic wooden flooring, loads of natural light and communal area for people to meet. We are there to allow the creative people to have a stage to really do what they want to do.
Yaron Rosenblum, Co-founder at Canvas Offices
Yaron Rosenblum is the co-founder and CEO of flexible office space provider Canvas Offices, which provides bespoke and crafted private offices for businesses in the tech and creative industries. Founded by Yaron and Oren Rosenblum, the business focuses on sourcing and receiving buildings in vacant areas and will add 11 additional buildings over the next two years. Canvas’s current locations in London include Shoreditch, Old Street, Mayfair, Farringdon and Clerkenwell.