Recently I started co-hosting Monday morning breakfasts at the Colab location of Impact Hub Zürich. In the process of getting acquainted with the culture of this co-working organization for creatives, entrepreneurs and tech professionals I have spent a few occasions being inspired at Kraftwerk. Today I wanted to give you a peak inside this impressive space, a collaboration between Impact Hub, dıgıtalswıtzerland, ewz, and Engagement Migros a development fund of Swiss retailer Migros.
Hollowed of their original intent, old industrial buildings can thrive with new power when re-purposed. Kraftwerk, the old electric works at 25 Selnaustrasse in Zürich, is no exception. An event and meeting space paired with a cafe by Impact Hub’s spinoff Auer & Co, it has all the soaring ceilings and capacity to thrill modernist lovers, and yet it’s been outfitted and softened for life in the information era with an idiosyncratic mix of oriental rugs and eclectic furniture and patterned cushions. Stacked with jutting freight containers, the interior design provides for meeting spaces and quiet nooks, making this one of Zürich’s more interesting engineered environments, where grandeur and intimacy coexist. From the fresh flowers on the tables to the old flip clock which clatters overhead, there’s a good balance of elements.
Yet what really elevates the mood is not the high ceilings but the personality injected into the atmosphere by its people. Not just the chic, nomadic professionals and entrepreneurs who choose to flow in and out of it as a meeting and office space, but the people who make sure that Kraftwerk, well, werks. Zürich is often characterised as featuring clockwork yet lifeless service, but here you can feel a warmth and a gleam beyond the haloes afforded by the lofty windows.
The coffee is another welcoming point, velvety rich darker roasts that never seem burnt. The food menu is modest, but the evening mezes/apero/tapas/small plate selection I sampled on an earlier occasion was delicious. The lunch menu is small but varied and seems to favour seasonal freshness. However I haven’t yet had the opportunity to eat lunch here, so I can’t yet comment, but if the quality of the meze selection is any indication, it should be good. I wouldn’t complain if they offered a few more independent craft beer choices, but perhaps that would fly in the face of productivity … anyway you decide!
This is a grand space to be sure, but it’s also playful. I look forward to attending a large scale event or performance, which this space and its staff are amply able to welcome. Hope to see you there.
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