What Should You Expect?
Organic food, macchiatos, tattoos, a quaint garden, Brazilian folks & lots of cool foreigners and locals.
Ok I’ve got to admit it: for coworking in Berlin, I’ve got a crush on Agora… The first reason might be that it is nested in my beloved city of Berlin. It’s hard to live in Europe without at least having heard about how special the German capital city is, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 10 years.
Berlin is full of cool coworking spaces and arty/maker spaces. it’s actually the city in Europe with the most coworking spaces per inhabitants, including the mighty and cool Betahaus (don’t leave Berlin without seeing it), but when in Berlin, be sure to check Agora and say “Bom Dia” to the Brazilian connection there.
Let us take you to this very special place.
The Big Picture
Agora in Brazilian Portuguese means “now”. The full name of the space is actually “Agora Collective.” What’s the most important here is the collective, the place being there to make it real “now”. Agora collective goes beyond the actual space and organizes many art-related events in Berlin.
Combining work, art, cuisine and events, Agora is really an ideal example of how coworking is a movement rather than an office-space solution.
The best word that might describe what Agora stands for would probably be “smoothness”. Walking in and working from this peaceful environment on a sunny day will put a broad smile on your face for no reason.
The smell of the coffee machine and the organic food being cooked in front of you, the white rooms filled with daylight, the old and charming furniture, the bean bags and pallet tables outside and the girl meditating next to you might help.
Agora is there for you to work in peace.
What You’ll Learn from this Space
Ok by now you’ve got it… We always speak about spaces with a soul and a strong community. Agora is no exception. At all! Always, after just one or two days copassing in Agora, you’ll make new friends and feel part of the city.
“What you’ll learn from this space is how much a coworking space is not limited to its working dimension. Agora mutates regularly into a food market (hosting a Food Assembly), a restaurant, an exhibition venue, a yoga center and much more.”
No wonder Agora is populated by a huge proportion of foreigners – it can basically quickly become your second home. You might surprise yourself spending a couple of days just hanging out there, switching from coworking to sharing meals and debating about the centralization of the internet or the influence of Picasso on pictural arts.
Where You’ll Find the Space
The first things that will strike you in Berlin is the feeling of freedom that you’ll experience as soon as you step foot there. No one gives a f*** about what you look like but in a good way.
You might see some punks chatting with some kind of skinheads… Everyone is expected to play with his look the way he wants it.
Beware! You might come back to your hometown with pink hair that everyone found cool in Berlin but that doesn’t really fit in back home…
The second thing you’ll notice is how much empty space there is and how intense the cultural life is. Berlin is *nine times* less dense than Paris.
The geography of Berlin has been profoundly impacted by the wall, and living there for some time, you’ll slowly see the scars of it through the City. The “wall” actually consisted of several layers of walls (usually 2) and was several hundreds meters wide. So in ’89, Berlin that was already not very dense ended up with hectares of empty space right in the middle of the city.
Empty spaces and abandoned buildings mean low rents and tons of possibilities, which usually attracts artists that make the neighborhood cool again, making rents higher, forcing artist to relocate to a cheaper district – to make that cool again, to make rents higher, so they have to relocate…
You got it. This what is usually describe as the gentrification of the City. A phenomenon that’s particularly powerful in Berlin and that will make many people say that “it was better before”. This is a vast and important debate.
Where You’ll Be Working
Agora is located in Neuköln, an area of Berlin still rather untouched by the gentrification process. It’s a neighborhood that has recently become a new place to be for artists. Agora is located in an entire building in a quiet part of the city.
When it’s sunny and warm, you can sit and enjoy your organic food listening to the birds in peace. You’ll be a able to contemplate the old red brick water tower just in front while sipping on your macchiato. No cars, no noise. Walking to Agora, you might notice the elementary schools next to it and it’s old train car covered with tag converted into a toy for kids. Berlin style.
Agora’s building is covered with Ivy and steps out of this quiet neighbourhood. Across its five stories of open coworking space, you’ll find minimalist white rooms with old wooden floors, illuminated in the sunlight of huge windows. Peaceful yet full of energy, you’ll find your place in this huge workspace without a problem.
Tip! To find the space, just head to the metro stop of Leinerstrasse. It’s a five minute walk from there!
Where You’ll Be Living
As usual, we’d recommend checking out your accommodation options through who’s working there on Copass. As luck would have it, Denis – the manager of Agora – has four / separate / beautiful / listings in the city that you should check out. (Three of them are quite close to Agora!)
Otherwise, you have to check-in to the Michelberger Hotel. This place is truly one of a kind – it feels more like crashing at a cool friend’s loft rather than a hotel. Rooms are lined with walls of books (they’re basically made of books in some cases) under high industrial ceilings.
The Events You Will Go To
Rather than go on and on about how cool and diverse Agora’s events are, I’ll just lead you on with some of their most interesting upcoming events for you to discover yourself:
Agora is also a very active artist exhibition space. In fact, the entire top floor of Agora is reserved for artist workspace and installations for public viewing. We dig spaces that care for art and culture as much as for workspace – this is really an ideal example of how these things can be combined to reinforce coworking as a movement rather than an office-space solution.
What You Will Eat
I ate a vegan muffin at Agora. No eggs, no milk, the best muffin I’ve ever had.
Berlin will offer you very extreme options food-wise. You can go from the rather dirty/tasty/must-have typical food to the latest organic/low-carb/gluten-free/vegan food. Frankly, Germany is not the best gastronomy ever, but you’ll quickly find that in many aspects, Berlin isn’t Germany.
Let’s start with the dirty food that any respectable traveler has to try. How not to speak about the ultimate Döner Kebab? As most of you probably already know, the Döner Kebab was allegedly invented in Germany. So yes, you’re standing in the mother city of Döners. How do you feel about that? And the nearby Mustafa Kebab can definitely be crowned the emperors of Kebabs. You have to check their incredible website that was allegedly designed and coded by a huge fan of Mustafa’s Kebab.
If Mustafa’s kebab was just a starter for you (now we’re talking), just walk five metres to try the most typical Berliner dish. The “currywurst” from Currywurst 36. A currywurst is basically a special kind of sausage drowning in a sea of a special ketchup with curry.
Tip! A piece of advice: try *all* of the “wurst” sausages. Yes, many Germans actually eat a sausage on-the-go whenever they’re hungry.
Tired of this heavy stuff? Wanna eat organic? Just stay and eat at Agora. They’ve got a team of chefs in the collaborative kitchen. Always good and creative. I ate a vegan muffin there. No eggs, no milk, the best muffin I’ve ever had.
This is a big topic in Berlin and it’s a tough one. Since I left Berlin in 2011, many of the places I used to go have closed doors and new ones have opened. The city is changing extremely fast.
- More Famous: Berghain (probably the most famous club in Europe) and The Watergate.
- More underground: The Ritter Butzke (often good lineups), The Maria and The Golden Gate.
- More naked people: The KitKatKlub (your own responsibility; check google images before :p).
You can check Residentadvisor for more clubs in Berlin. Beware, it would take you years to visit them all.
- More music on the water: Club der Visionaere (only from Spring to October).
- More upside-down: Madame Claude (former brothel; everything is upside down. Pieces of furniture are stuck on the ceiling).
- More swimming pools: Badeschiff (a swimming pool on a boat on the river).
- Mauerpark, Flohmarkt on sunday + karaoke (I posted a picture of the karaoke around october)
- Volkspark or Tiergarten (barbecue in summer). During summer, take the train and go to a lakes around Berlin (Wannsee)
The Practical Stuff
The Copass Crew