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Are coworking spaces designed for a specific type of user?

The answer would be absolutely not! But let’s see why…

When you search the web about coworking spaces, you get the impression that the typical users are freelancers and startups. However, what about the people who are in a transitional phase and are in the mood of trying out new things?

Last week we had an insightful conversation with Virginie Viel. After finishing her PhD thesis in exploring how visualisation can be used to compose music, Virginie decided to take a little break, and experiment how she could artistically express the same message through different human senses (hearing, vision and tasting). It is inspiring listening her to talk about her quest to explore the relationship between the visual sense and music.

“When I think of music, I do it visually. In the frame of a project, I am working on, I am thinking of musical pieces as abstract patterns and colorful sensation, which I depict in pieces of paper as rectangular or circles or other motives and try to express them afterwards into sound and music.”

Virginie is about to obtain her PhD in Electroacoustic composition from the De Montfort University, Leicester (UK). She has a diverse academic background in arts and experimental music and at the moment she is studying baking at EISF -CAP Pâtissier – CAP Boulangerremotely. She also loves to explore new countries and she has lived and studied in France, Belgium and Great Britain. While writing her PhD Thesis, she came to Greece seeking for a new cultural environment. Although she submitted her PhD in October 2018 and passed the viva in January 2019, she is still in Athens as she found a warmth towards the people she encountered here worth staying!

Experimenting on music and baking

Currently, she is engaging in a project that is related to music and baking! She uses music as an inspiration to create pastries and then she organizes tasting sessions. There, rather than the opportunity of eating itself, she invites people to acknowledge their impulsive desire to try the deserts, and then she encourages them to slow down a bit the eating process and feel the actual experience as if it was a wine tasting.

She decided to approach Stone Soup after spotting it online. Her idea was to find a dynamic place with lots of potentials in terms of meeting people, discussing about her project or even discovering some new ones. It is very likely that we will be announcing such workshops in the near future! So stay tuned!

Music workshop

Now, if you are interested in experiencing Virginie’s project or just to meet her, you may attend this music workshop on Sunday 3rd of March, organized by Giorgos Kokkinaris, Giorgos Mizithras and Nikoleta Chatzopoulou. During this evening you will encounter a tasting journey meant to satisfy and surprise your tasting buds as a piece of music does to the ears.

Are you interested to find out more?
You may find here Virginie’s website and have a closer look at her creative pastries here.

Expressing yourself creatively as a way of living

How many of us could say that our profession reflects our passions and our true life calling? You know that feeling when you wake up in the morning and you realise you make your living by practicing something that you love as if it was a hobby.

Olga Alexaki feels very lucky waking up every day with such a sensation. She comes from a family of architects and she grew up with an inclination to arts and crafts and the habit to draw anything that came to her mind.

“Because of my family, I was always fascinated by architecture and I could easily picture myself following the same profession, as Ι ended up doing. My aspiration was to give a more modern and creative approach to my personal work based on my expertise and taste.”

During her studies Olga explored her creativity by designing jewelery. She formed a company named “Open that Stone” producing handmade collections of wooden and perspex accessories.

Surrounded by inspiring people

As a professional architect you may find multiple ways to cover your clients’ needs and simultaneously express yourself creatively. The trick is to find the source of inspiration. For Olga this source is the everyday life and that is the main reason she wanted to have an office in a coworking environment rather than a traditional office place.

Olga is working with Iris Papadatou at YOU & ME Architecture, which is based at Stone Soup. According to her, being surrounded by individuals from diverse fields of expertise is really inspiring.

“We like the kind of fun architecture, with playful structures that gives the opportunity to people to feel comfortable and welcome. Operating in a shared environment triggers our creativity and enriches our perspective for our own projects, as we view it as a chance to observe how people use the space, in order to work, to cowork and network.”

Do you have to leave Greece to start your career?

We talked to Daphne Xourafi this week and our conversation raised one daunting question.

Can you find work in Greece if you are a highly trained and skilled young professional?

The social and economic crisis has deeply affected the living conditions and opportunities in Greece, resulting in unemployment and a poor working environment. Human capital flight, or brain drain is usually described as a problem that needs to be solved.

However, there are benefits that can be derived from this process. The country can naturally profit when talented workers return with new competencies and carry the prospect to create better job possibilities for Greeks. Another phenomenon that also acts as a bridge between the Greek and the international scene is the attraction of foreign human capital. Professional nomads are not merely tourists but they come to Greece to start a new life. They spread a strongly desired global mindset by carrying professional, social and personal skills.

Usually, the returners and the nomads choose to shelter their activities in co-working spaces, like the creative hub Stone Soup, because of the limitless networking potential and the inspiration one such dynamic environment may offer.

The effects of brain drain are quite visible in our daily practice, but should we despair?

Daphne was introduced to us as a talented, young professional looking for opportunities abroad. She has spent six months in Paris, at Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines with the Erasmus programme, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media from the University of Athens (UOA) and a Master’s Degree in Computer Animation and VFX from the University of Dundee.

Daphne is a passionate and determined person driven by her passion and ambition to distinguish in her profession. She has a broad range of interests and skills that she acquired during her education or she was self-taught, such as illustration, concept and comic art and 2D & 3D animation and she is already acknowledged for her work in some of these. In 2017 she illustrated a children’s book written by Cleopatra Deliou, a lecturer of Athens University of Economics and Business, and she released her own comic in Comicdom Athens Convention called “Requiem in Deep Blue”.

Both experiences were very important to build her confidence as an artist and gain constructive feedback to help her improve creatively and to build her network. A few months after graduating, Daphne returned to Greece, while seeking positions worldwide, in concept art, character design and animation, with the long-term plan to direct animation films. Asking for career advices she ended up at Stone Soup where she had the opportunity to network and to cowork on some freelance projects.

Daphne considers Stone Soup as an environment where global job possibilities come up all the time through getting to know all kinds of freelancers and you may find yourself committed in ongoing or future projects very naturally. Thus, she came to realisation that going abroad is not the only choice, because there are places for people to perform and network in an international setting in Greece too.

So if you are planning to leave Greece…

We hope we gave you enough reasons why you might want to drop by and check what is simmering for you here!

If interested you can reach here Daphne’s portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

 

Starting-up your business in Greece, could a coworking space benefit you?

Lucy is a US citizen who decided to move away and live in Greece. She is a marketer and start-up advisor, and she recently launched the website for her new company The Port. For the last couple of months she has been working from Stone Soup, so we thought to ask her about her experience and how is life for her in Greece.

In the summer of 2016, Lucy traveled to Greece on holiday and fell in love with the country. By the end of the year, she had become educated on the local tech community in Athens, and made the move to bring her skills to a new market. Since arriving in Greece over a year and a half ago, Lucy has been getting to know the local tech scene and culture, working with startups and small businesses both in Greece and the States. She is using her experience to better understand the needs of startups here, and identify the best practices from Silicon Alley (New York City) that could be adapted to help Greek startups grow.

This year, Lucy officially launched The Port, a startup resources hub and consultancy that is “helping startups navigate unchartered waters.” Specifically, in the Greek Market, The Port is helping local startups adapt and leverage the strategies that have helped the rapid growth of American tech companies.

Lucy joined Stone Soup in search of a shared space to surround herself with creative energy and inspiring hustle, and for all the other coworking space benefits that come with it. The welcoming community and open space office layout provides her with a “tight-knit community” enabling her to interact and collaborate with “creative and bright minds.”  The location was also a big plus and attracted Lucy to the space. Working in the heart of Athens, she is in walking distance from all other central neighborhoods—like Greek food hub, Syntagma Square and the famous Monastiraki Square and Flea Market.

To answer our initial question, Lucy felt that setting up shop in a local coworking space has greatly helped in both her transition into the Greek lifestyle and the successful launch of her business.

We would like to thank Lucy for her kind words, and to wish her lots of success!

More about Lucy:

Lucy grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and spent her university years in Philadelphia where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she went on to join IBM Global Business Services in New York City. After spending some time in corporate America, Lucy decided to make the shift to working with technology startups: early-stage e-commerce game Drop’ Til You Shop  and visual commerce platform Curalate. To learn more about The Port and the services it offers for Greek startups, go to the official website www.totheport.com