Where do you go to kill time in a city? I agree, it’s a difficult one. When I’m in between meetings and in need of that mental break from all the buzz around me, I wonder: where can I sit down, mind my own business, and stay as long as I want? Where do I find such a place in that urban village such as Amsterdam?
Time to leave your kitchen table
A thought of mine that’s been locked in my head ever since I started being self-employed. Back then I didn’t have an office. I sat at a random café, using up all the Wi-Fi for one coffee in return. And of course, there’s the phenomenon of going to co-working spaces, but maybe having an office (facilities and extra cost) is not what you’re looking for? What would the alternative be?
If you live in a big city and your apartment is too small to operate from, you look for other places which could feel just like home.
This is something Leonid Goncharov realized 5 years ago, whilst living in Paris in 2012. Instead of going to a loud café, a boring library, or maybe a restaurant without being too hungry, he continued his search of finding that ‘perfect space,’ a place to work, study, or meet somebody.
It was the spark needed to launch Anticafé, opening its first space in 2013...
Spending your time wisely
Anticafé has been designed as a hybrid model between a café and a co-working place, but also as a response to the changing needs of generations.
Today, everyone seems to be a digital nomad, not bound to a set office or even country. These digital nomads want a place with the flexibility of moving, meeting, working, Skyping... seeking a place to allow the freedom to do whatever they want in their time spent. As long or as short as they like.
And you probably know Paris for its charming brown cafés on every street corner. A concept that used to work, but newer generations don’t seem to be that fond of it anymore. It’s outdated, and they crave for a space that fits their daily routine a lot better.
Physical places have therefore become very important in the digital era. And by simply reversing the old model of cafes and coffee shops in Paris, Anticafé is has now envisioned a model that fits a wider audience of citizens alike. Maybe not as an alternative, but as the best option to spend your time wisely, by yourself or with others.
Your space time
So how and why does Anticafé work in Paris? Because it’s built on 4 strong pillars, which make them different than other options:
Concept - You pay for your time and have unlimited access to space and all the services.
Hospitality - Service reputation in Paris is very low and for Anticafé, it’s something they live by. It’s a human-driven, people-first space.
Design - Despite the different buildings of all the existing Anticafé locations, you will notice its distinct use of colours, materials, and interiors.
Community - Anticafé couldn’t exist without its community. They use different locations around town to meet, work, and connect. And since it feels like home after a while, you really get to know each other, both the people working behind the counter and the community working there.
As a nice side fact to mention: the founding team actually started working behind the counter of their first location at Beaubourg in Paris.
From serving their fellow citizens directly, they have now grown to almost 8 locations within Paris, to a couple in France, and even one in Rome. And it’s now time to share the vision beyond the borders of France, to other cities around the world.
By the people for the people - Serving its citizens
I met the Anticafé team for a day and couldn’t have wished for a better welcoming experience in Paris. We probably had too much coffee for the day, but it was a worthwhile experience meeting the kind people I did along the way. Let me introduce you to them:
Meet the lovely Kim, manager of location Anticafé Louvre!
She used to be one of the customers, then a member, and decided it was time to switch careers to becoming a manager for the Louvre location. It’s a lot of hard work, but she loves the working culture, with equal chances and respect. As a manager, she receives all the creative freedom to attract new customer to her ANTCAFÉ, located near the Louvre. She is a strong believer that the people attract the right people that you want to have in your space.
Meet the manager Alice of the first-ever Anticafé location at Beauborg!
After feeling fed-up of having a day job and sitting behind the computer all day, this Anticafé was the perfect opportunity for her to start her own business. "This space is close to my heart and it really feels like having my own baby." What she likes most is the daily connections she makes with the team and the customers.
Meet Yann & Tommasso, the driving force in finding new locations around the world. As the business development team, they seek for partnerships in other cities besides Paris.
I’ve been convinced by the strength of the Anticafé concept, and think this would fit in perfectly here in Amsterdam. Anyone out here who feels like taking up this challenge?
Get in touch and let’s start serving our fellow citizens!
Words & Pictures by Robin Cox
[This is not a sponsored post]