From disused shops to old shipping containers, pop ups can pop up anywhere – and now offices have succumbed to the trend. In a world where work is more flexible than ever, it makes for a great fit.
What is a pop up office space?
It’s a temporary office space that you’ll usually find in an unusual location, which allows you to pop in, get your work done, then pop out, without being tied to traditional office rental contracts.
Pop up shops have been used as a marketing tool by global brands and by fledgling designers and entrepreneurs as a low-cost way to start a business. For those looking to get a new business off the ground, pop up offices provide a place to meet, work and present ideas – often in unique and inspiring locations.
Pop up office space benefits
You’ll find pop up spaces available all over London, from the trendy East End of Dalston, to the Southbank and the City. Choosing a pop up space for your office gives you access to fantastic locations in the capital. While you might not be able to stretch to the annual lease of an office in the city centre, pop up spaces give you the flexibility to access office facilities in great locations only as and when you need them.
Pop up office technology
4G, WiFi, smartphones. Communications technology has advanced enough that it’s now possible to create a mobile office in minutes, wherever you are. O2 recently launched its Pop Up Office mobile hotspot service, which lets you connect up to 10 other devices to the internet wherever you want, giving all devices access to a 4G network whether they’re 4G-compatible or not.
This kind of connective freedom means you can set up pop up offices even in areas that don’t have landlines or WiFi connections.
Pop up offices in London and beyond
Now that the technology has set office designers free, we’re seeing the emergence of more and more daring and revolutionary workspace designs. By playing with mobile office options, increasingly new office spaces are being designed to be portable, so we can settle down to work wherever our work, or desires, take us.
A central theme through many modern pop up office designs is also an emphasis on enhancing our access to daylight and the natural world. Traditional offices can isolate us from the world outside, where we work in a temperature-controlled bubble, sometimes with little to no daylight. New look pop up offices are seeking to reconnect us with the world around us, creating a far more pleasant and inspiring working atmosphere.
Here are some of our favourites from around the world:
TREExOFFICE on Hoxton Square
As part of London Festival of Architecture 2015, a pop up office appeared wrapped around a tree trunk in east London’s Hoxton Square. A futuristic raised translucent pod provided temporary office space intended to encourage workers into the borough’s parks. It was created by London architecture studio Tate Harmer as part of the city’s Park Hacks scheme and featured wooden workbenches, electricity and WiFi.
A home for start-ups and small businesses, Containerville is a simple set up of 45 containers arranged over three floors and up-cycled into modern work spaces next to the Regents Canal. Each container accommodates up to six desks and is kitted out to function perfectly as a clean, modern work space with WiFi, double glazing, heating, electricity and a kitchen unit, with 24-hour access, and right in the heart of London’s hipper-than-hip east end too.
OUTBOX, Downtown Silver Spring in Maryland
An enormous shopping centre in Maryland, US, called Downtown Silver Spring unveiled Outbox in June 2016 – just in time for the summer. This brightly coloured, creative workspace is designed to seat up to 20 people and is fully equipped with WiFi and power sockets. From 10am to 7pm passersby can pop in with a laptop and get their work done – all in the comfort of the open air.
An Amsterdam-based start-up is currently trialing ‘Popices’ by installing small, canopied offices across the city in unused spaces like rooftops, parks, restaurants, cafes – even a boat! The idea is to offer a cheaper version of co-working but with ‘a hint of the unusual’ that companies will be able to rent out for the day to bring their team outdoors (during the warmer months) to shake up the routine. Individuals can just turn up on a first-come, first-served basis to make use of the free desk space, WiFi and plug sockets.
The Dubbeldam POP-UP Office
Innovative Canadian architecture and design firm Dubbeldam has created a modular pop up office range that makes it easy to set up a beautiful and functional workspace whenever and wherever you like. It consists of various timber units that can be combined in different ways to create a custom workspace totally tailored to your individual needs. The possibilities are endless; easily transported, reconfigurable and rapidly deployed, the POP-UP Office is designed for short term use, atypical applications such as outdoor festivals or disaster relief situations, or start-ups looking for modest office space. As Dubbeldam puts it “when all we need is a surface to work on and a place to plug in, the working environment is no longer static.”
BEEBOX Mobile Office Pod
The BEEBOX Mobile Office Pod lets you take your office with you. It’s an interesting idea for a workspace on wheels that can simply be rolled into any environment to adapt it for practical use. At the end of the day, it can be closed down and locked up. You can take it anywhere – all you need is a place to plug in your laptop.
JuiceBOX shipping container offices
And if you can’t find a place to plug in, don’t worry. The JuiceBOX shipping container office, designed by Metalab and manufactured by MobileGRID, features a fold-out solar rack system. Glass-fronted to allow in lots of natural light, it’s designed to be set up in seconds, even in areas where access to the power grid isn’t available.