Tue January 18, 2011
Life in Berlin

'The Wostel:' A Space For Work Travelers In Neukoelln

Neukölln has become an attractive area for creative types in Berlin.

In recent years, galleries, bookstores and designer shops have popped up south of the Landwehr Kanal. One of the neighborhood's newest editions is “The Wostel,“ a combination of the words work and hostel. The idea came from Chuente Noufena and Marie Jacobi.

"Instead of coming with their luggage, they come with their laptop. We also see ourselves as work travelers. We like to travel. We don't have a steady job. Sometimes we work in France, or Germany, Berlin. That's for us a Wostel," Noufena says.

Unlike a hostel, you can't sleep over, but you can rent a desk on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. The Wostel offers everything you might expect to find in an office.

"It's not a new idea," Noufena says. ”What we wanted, though, was to have a place that's on the street because it's important to us to have a connection to the street, Neukölln. Marie and I have lived here for 10 years. And regarding the decoration, we wanted to have it vintage style, our style. It looks like our homes."

Three rooms are available: one that was built for seminars with a long conference table.  A communal room for people who like to work in the company of others, and a private office painted in red with dark wooden furniture and a Persian rug.

The “Red Room” has already become a favorite of freelance writers, Chuente says. In the first month, the 29 year-old has rented desks to writers, graphic designers, a professor from Chicago and a working mom from the neighborhood who couldn't make it to her office.

So far, Noufena says, the response has been positive.

"They see that they can work; they are more concentrated than working at home." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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