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Urban work environment: Bonn co-working space "The 9th" gets a fresh new start despite corona

Urban work environment : Bonn co-working space "The 9th" gets a fresh new start despite corona

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Cedric Teichmann has embarked on a fresh new start with his co-working space “The 9th”. Located in Bonn, opposite the municipal utility headquarters, people are allowed to use the workspace even during the lockdown.

One almost feels as if one is in a design gallery, or even in a piece of art. Cedric Teichmann and Heidemarie Weide stand behind a black frame hanging from the white ceiling as if they were part of a painting. Behind it, a red ball sits on the white floor; it is the seating behind this unusual reception desk. Further inspection leads to an all-white meditation room with skylights, a foam-lined nearly soundproof black box, and also a kind of indoor loggia with houseplants and four reclining chairs - also white -  an intimate meeting space. "In everything here, the focus is ultimately on the work," says Weide.

 Four years after its founding, the co-working space “The 9th” has moved from its first domicile on Stockenstrasse to spacious quarters at Sandkaule 9 to 11, opposite the Stadtwerke municipal utility headquarters. "We signed the lease two days before the first lockdown in March," Teichmann reports, doing so with mixed feelings. After five months of remodeling, most of the work done on his own,  the workspace opened at the new location on Nov. 2 - exactly on the first day of the new partial lockdown. "That certainly required some fortitude," says Teichmann. Now he's happy to report that the co-working space is not affected by the lockdown closures. Masks are mandatory in the open areas and only a limited number of people are allowed in. Once in place, however, workers are allowed to take off their masks.

 Concept lacking in Bonn so far

 Cedric Teichmann believes that the concept of a co-working space boasting an innovative and big-city feel has been lacking in Bonn so far. In fact, one would probably expect such minimalist spaces in Berlin Friedrichshain or in New York. Spaces like these are used for startups, and by freelancers and students who rent the spaces on a daily or monthly basis. Those who stay longer can also become members and introduce themselves, spelling out their strengths and what services they provide on The 9th's homepage. A designated spot for working is frowned upon. Everyone can work wherever they want - whether with a view of the street or in a kind of airy open-plan office with wooden desks or in somewhat more intimate alcoves, which Heidemarie Weide jokingly calls “Verrichtungsboxen" - the word for sex drive-in boxes used in prostitution. 

 The services offered: Electricity and high-speed wifi are included. Everything else you have to bring with you. There is also a kitchenette with cold drinks and a shower for after a jog. A couple of thick ropes dangle from the ceiling, so those working on laptops or tablets can stretch out their tense backs.

 33-year-old Teichmann, grandson of an architect, conceived and implemented the design together with Heidemarie Weide, 45 years his senior. Weide had run a boutique for avant-garde fashion in Bonn decades ago. Out of curiosity, she at some point wandered into the rooms on Stockenstrasse. Nothing is retro-looking on the premises, however - and there is no cheap or mass-produced furniture. Old tubing and cables or sockets from the previous tenants have been turned into art installations behind glass. Foam in white frames absorbs sound in the 650-square-meter space.

And Teichmann inscribed a large wall mirror with a big “EGO” and smashed it into a hundred pieces with a sledgehammer. At first glance, one sees workers sitting in front of their laptops with huge headphones. One man has retreated to the meditation room to conduct negotiations on his smartphone. "But most appreciate the fact that if you have questions here, you can just approach others and make new contacts," Teichmann says. When the second lockdown ends again sometime in the spring, he plans to offer the space to businesses again as well. From Deutsche Post DHL to camera manufacturer Nikon, a number of well-known companies have already taken advantage of the co-working space offered.

Orig. text: Martin Wein

Translation: ck