Integrated: A new way of living for a new world

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The BlackBrick complex.
The BlackBrick complex.

BUSINESS


A wave of live-work-learn residential developments is ushering in a new age of integrated living that has community and programmed facility spaces at its core.

Not only will people have access to communal recreation areas, but these developments will also be designed to foster a sense of community. Increasingly, people tend to gravitate toward others who share similar values when choosing a place to live – similarly, the development of these new living spaces allows working people to collaborate and share resources.

The world’s first “residential members’ club”, nestled within Johannesburg’s commercial heart, is set to pioneer this new way of living and working. With its first location in the Sandton CBD, BlackBrick Club is the area’s first office-to-residential conversion and is a seminal step towards a shift to a dynamic urban future – and the foundation for the reality of living and working in a post-Covid-19 world.

The pandemic has illustrated that office space and accompanying massive overheads are largely unnecessary in many industries

Ultimate flexibility

Key to this new way of living and working is flexibility. The pandemic has illustrated that office space and accompanying massive overheads are largely unnecessary in many industries. Housing is also a fundamental human need – and people need more flexibility than ever before as they find their feet in an uncertain financial world. With working from home set to be a fixture for millions around the world once life returns to “normal”, facilities like BlackBrick Club – which blend workspaces and lifestyle amenities with an array of apartments – are going to become the “new normal”. With rentals for periods from one day to one year, the ultimate flexibility of access to the space matches the need for agility in the modern entrepreneurial environment. In the future, BlackBrick is to roll out multiple locations across the country and in cities around the world, giving members access to “work from home” and “work from anywhere” quality of life.

“By being able to offer cost-effective, flexible rentals that deliver access to an unprecedented array of in-house facilities, services and programmes, we believe the BlackBrick model is a unique and compelling offering,” says BlackBrick founder Moritz Wellensiek.

As like-minded people converge in these new live-work spaces, they become incubators for new entrepreneurial ideas.

Space as a service

With work and life converging, there’s a need for access to different elements that cater to both aspects in one place. A hospitality-led approach to residential living with dedicated on-site staff to cater for residents’ every need, coupled with always-on access to programmes, services and facilities, is the way forward, and BlackBrick facilitates this via a dedicated mobile app. The hotel-like approach to accessing everything members need to make living and working easier means access to everything from booking meeting spaces to booking fitness and meditation sessions, having their vehicles washed, selecting and ordering furniture, design and tech packs from dedicated partners, and grooming and laundry, making it easier to combine living and working, and so maximising comfort and time.

“Working from home doesn’t have to mean setting up your remote office on your kitchen table and getting distracted by your personal life. Rather take the elevator down to the Workspace Level and get focused in our day offices with our full-sized work desks and meeting rooms. You can also get your printing done, and order coffee and lunch. And if you need a break, take a minute to meditate in our mindfulness garden or ride a bicycle in the fresh air,” says Wellensiek.

The growth of the BlackBrick network to Rosebank, Cape Town, Los Angeles and beyond in the near future gives members the opportunity to expand their entrepreneurial horizons by accessing new cities and networks as part of their membership
BlackBrick founder Moritz Wellensiek

Accelerating careers

As like-minded people converge in these new live-work spaces, they become incubators for new entrepreneurial ideas.

BlackBrick is home to the Accelerator in Residence programme, which brings together talent from diverse backgrounds to create a tribe of members who empower each other to become the best version of themselves. The in-house acceleration programme gives members access to a select group of guides who are experts in almost every field – from arts, fashion, music and entertainment to business and entrepreneurship, science and innovation, technology, and design and architecture – to drive entrepreneurial ventures and attempt to tap into Africa’s rich knowledge base, removing knowledge and financial barriers, and aiming to contribute to a fundamental shift in the world economy. the Accelerator in Residence programme will also connect members with local and global funding opportunities.

“The growth of the BlackBrick network to Rosebank, Cape Town, Los Angeles and beyond in the near future gives members the opportunity to expand their entrepreneurial horizons by accessing new cities and networks as part of their membership,” says Wellensiek.

The BlackBrick experience

The Sandton location opens on November 1, and people are able to experience the building in three ways: renting (to access the full BlackBrick experience), becoming a club member (access to the Accelerator in Residence programme and facilities) and short-stay (trial the experience for a week or weekend).


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