What Should You Expect?
A parking lot bar, a dictator’s printing press, a food court and the Velvet Underground.
Lisbon is, in many ways, a destination city. You go for the beaches, you go for the food, you go for the people, the places, the culture, the nightlife, and so on. But little would you know, Lisbon is truly a destination city for coworking. Visit Coworklisboa at the LX Factory, and you’ll see why – let’s go coworking in Lisbon.
The bold and compelling spirit of Lisbon is matched and surpassed in the personalities of those you’ll find at Coworklisboa. A bright, determined, passionate and exciting community awaits you in this inspiring space. Coworklisboa has been pioneering coworking in Portugal and in Europe. This six-year-old space popped up when coworking was little less than a rumour.
The Big Picture
Coworklisboa is a project made possible by the vision of its cofounders (and long-wedded lovebirds) Fernando and Ana. Fernando is really one of the most important figures of the European coworking scene, with a special ability for inspiring quotes. Ana is the lifeblood of Coworklisboa, deeply involved in its philosophy, community and ongoing development… And making things go round!
Their combined attitude to coworking is a ‘no-nonsense’ approach. A mixture of designers, scientists, architects, programmers, translators and marketeers, everyone collaborates in this creative space – and they have a damn good time doing it. As the space motto goes: “This is not about work anymore.”
What You’ll Learn from this Space
Here, more than maybe any other coworking space, you’re gonna learn something you weren’t expecting, from someone you’ve never met before, probably from a place you haven’t yet been to.
“How many languages can you hear everyday at Coworklisboa? Fasten your seat belts… Portuguese, English, French, German, Italian, Danish, Timorese, Spanish, Hebrew, Swiss Canton, Dutch and Gestual Language!”
The international coworkers here are from all over the world, doing exciting and diverse projects – there’s no doubt that you’ll find someone with something funny in common! More importantly, like in every good coworking space, you’ll find open-minded and truly caring people.
“Coworklisboa is one of those spaces that does not take the word community lightly. Community is not something you declare but something you experience. You’ll experience it there.”
Where You’ll Find the Space
The place where Coworklisboa is nested is worth visiting in itself – it’s a true hotspot in Lisbon. You’ll find Coworklisboa at the top floor of the old warehouse in the LX Factory, under the 25 de Abril Bridge.
The LX Factory is a very peculiar urban development project spearheaded by the Lisbon Municipality. It’s a complete redevelopment and renovation of an old Lisbon factory district that was established in 1846.
But the mythology of Coworklisboa is what makes it fascinating. Talking with Ana, she told me that the building itself was originally a textile factory for the Portuguese royal family. After they were overthrown in the 5 October 1910 revolution, the factory was abandoned until the mid-20th century, when it was revitalised as a printing press for Portugal’s dictator, Salazar.
After his death and the subsequent revolution, the factory zone was largely abandoned. Now, you’ll find LX Factory as a bustling centre of art, culture, food, music and entrepreneurship – with Coworklisboa at the vanguard.
With a long history of totalitarian power, it’s more than a symbolic gesture that the space is now home to one of Portugal’s premier collaborative, open, shared workspaces.
Where You’ll Be Working
Finding Coworklisboa is not the easiest part. You’ll probably ask two or three different people for directions. Walking up to the top floor of the building, it’s hard to know exactly what to expect. You’re met with the bold and bright “Coworklisboa” welcome sign that leads you into a big open workspace space that’s calm and peaceful, with a distinct focused energy that’s going on all the time.
You will find a cafe space where you can have lunch, a separate open floorspace, other workspaces and meeting rooms spread throughout the top floor. With views stretching out over the local industrial district and city in the distance, the sunlight and view is always great (and sometimes a bit too great, it makes you want to get out and go to the beach…!)
Plus, they’re very dog friendly, and chances are you’ll meet some exciting canine coworkers during your stay there.
Where You’ll Be Living
As some of you might know, we held our very first Copass Camp last November in Lisbon. After a lot of looking around before we came, we found a super cool hostel/guesthouse called Lost Lisbon down by the river, in Cais do Sodre. Hostel is really not an appropriate name for this house that makes you feel at home the minute you walk in.
If you stay there, make sure to say hello to the architect and founder, Joao, who will welcome you with open arms (with the flat cat, being lazy on a couch somewhere). The place has a great vibe and is well accommodated cool furniture – it’s a veritable coworking space itself!
It’s a long walk or short tram ride away from the LX Factory, but we recommend checking this place out because it’s central to the historic districts of Lisbon, especially Bairro Alto and Praça do Comércio.
The Events You Will Go To
Events at Coworklisboa exercise both the mind and the body. Hosting authors for panels and discussions of their works (sometimes in the realm of politics, cinema, economics and more), the space is engaged with wider issues and conversations that extend beyond their doors. Challenging coworkers to bike to and from work, sometimes you’ll find them hanging out along the excellent bike path that goes for miles along the river.
Tip! They also run various other events, many with a design focus and other kinds of meetups – many of them are in Portuguese, but if you don’t speak they’ll be accommodating, don’t worry!
What You Will Eat
Okay, this one’s a no-brainer. Lisbon is full of so much good food that you’ll sooner hit yourself in the face with a plate of sardines than find a terrible restaurant. In the LX Factory, you can walk from Coworklisboa to the awesome 1300 Taberna – lit up by a glass factory ceiling with shiny metal tables and funky red chairs, the food is as fresh as the people are friendly.
If there’s one place we could recommend above all others, it’s without a doubt the Mercado da Ribeira. Dating back to no later than the 13th century, and at one time one of the most well-known port markets in Europe, now it is home to maybe the most glamorous, delicious, best value food court in the world.
Now, when you hear the words “food court” you probably instantly want to not go. But, let me ask you, have you ever been to a food court where you eat your 5EUR grilled fish risotto real ceramic plates and metal cutlery – all while sipping a 2EUR glass of wine from a huge, glass wine glass?
I didn’t think so.
That’s why you have to go. There’s a treasure trove of over a 15 restaurants you can eat at.
It’s hardly nightlife, but definitely after-hours and worth a mention, but you should at least stop in the Ler Devagar bookstore in the LX Factory. They’ve got a gigantic old printing press in the middle of an excellently curated collection of Portuguese and international books. Nothing but good vibes and good books here.
As far as night-time stuff, you won’t go wrong getting lost in the windy cobblestone streets of Bairro Alto. We recommend not a specific place, but the whole neighbourhood – the best thing that can happen is you get lost and stumble into a small old bar somewhere. You’ll meet some crazy football fans, or young student bands, or any number of other eccentric Lisbonites.
We’d also recommend stopping into Tasca Beat do Rosário in the old city district of Alfama. Here you’ll find a lovely, handmade bar by Marta and Jean Marc from the famous local band Oquestrada. The band made its own genre, called ‘Tasca Beat,’ where ‘Tasca’ means a small Portuguese tavern where people relax and drink cheaply. It’s a really cool style of Portuguese music that will give you a taste of true local culture – stop in and have a listen!
If you want an experience to remember, you’ve gotta grab a drink at the über cool Park bar. You might not like it when I say it, but it’s a bar… in a parking lot. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. But did we mention it’s on the top floor on a hill overlooking the whole city? And did we mention they do top-notch gin and tonics?
Yeah, we’ll see you there.
And on the weekends, make sure to take advantage of the excellent beaches nearby for some great surfing! We recommend Carcavelos, which is easy to get to by train and has good waves for all levels of surfing. And, if you feel particularly adventurous, you should definitely rent a car and drive around! There’s a ton of stuff just outside of Lisbon to do – especially Sintra, Portugal’s ancient palace city – it’s the stuff that fairytales are made of.
The Practical Stuff
(PS – did you notice how we didn’t include the Park bar on our map? Yeah, the trick is it’s actually a secret location. So go on an adventure and seek it out – we promise, it’s worth the effort!)
The Copass Crew