Anthony Gutman is the co-founder of Remix Coworking in Paris, France. Remix is a multi-location coworking brand with real community values and experimentation at its heart. Anthony is a former planning and communications strategist but transitioned to coworking in 2013 as he noticed the desire for independent workers to work alongside each other. Remix now has four locations in Paris and is opening up their fifth in the coming months. Anthony and I met up in one of the new locations where renovations were well underway.
During our conversation, we discussed the genesis of Remix Coworking, why travelling to other coworking communities for inspiration is important, the opportunities and challenges of coliving, and experimentation as a practice. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Getting Started - Travel and Exploration
Anthony and his partner first arrived at the threshold of their coworking adventure back in 2013. It happened in large part due to their ex-employees wanting to continue working together, even though they wouldn’t be working together.
The two partners had heard about the then growing coworking movement and decided to explore it further. As in, they went exploring. After visiting dozens of coworking spaces in cities around the world from Madrid to Kansas City in the US, they felt they had an understanding of what coworking was about.
“Before all,” Anthony says. “coworking is a movement… a state of mind that’s about vision and values.”
But the exploration didn’t stop there. Once home, Anthony and his partner further outlined their underlying principles in a 300-page book. No joke. That book still forms the foundation of what Remix is today.
The lesson here is: get out more! Go see other coworking spaces, get to know them and their philosophies. Explore before you build.
Betting on Coliving
One of Remix’s new locations will include a hotel and a coliving space. I tend to be a bit bearish on coliving because we see many so-called coliving spaces popping up today that are little more than expensive hostels. I asked Anthony how the hotel and the coliving space would be differentiated.
Anthony sees them entirely separately. To him, the hotel is about short-term guests who want to connect with the Remix community. He views these short-term guests as an essential ingredient in the Remix cake because they add unique experiences from around the world to the in-house coworkers. But the coliving is something different altogether.
“We think it's great to have residences for entrepreneurs, but we won’t define Remix as this. We see it as much wider… People have to share spaces, have to share their lives, have to share time, have to help each other. It’s a lot more than just sharing space for financial reasons.”
Anthony described his coliving vision to me in detail. There will be a mix of young and old, single people, families, and even dogs. The goal is to bring people from all walks of life together under one roof to share experiences and their lives, not to merely commit an act of residential real estate arbitrage.
It's clear from Anthony's perspective that he's all about the details. He wouldn't fall into the trap of defining a thing as "real" coworking or coliving based on a simple set of criteria. He loves the nuances. And while there are a lot of similarities between coliving and the hotel industry, it's those details that make coliving unique for him.
If Anthony brings the same level of passion and attention to detail to his new coliving projects as he does to the coworking spaces they’ve built, I think we’ll see a refreshing change in the coliving industry.
Experimentation as a Practice
It’s one thing to try new tactics and explore new services on occasion. I think most people in coworking do that. By their nature, coworking founders are risk-takers. Anthony and his partner are no different, but it goes far beyond that.
They are true experimentalists. Each Remix coworking space has some unique focus or amenity, and every new location seems to be seen as a challenge to do something more interesting than the last.
Among the current and eventual Remix locations there’s are/will be a:
This level of experimentation may not be right for everybody, but for Remix it’s working. It prevents each additional space from being “just another coworking space.” It reinforces a culture of experimentation within the community and raises the bar for even more exciting experiments.
If you’re ever in Paris, be sure to visit Remix and try to grab a coffee with Anthony. Better yet, join the community and watch him (re)mix tunes at one of the community parties!
Marketing Director, founder at Coworking Insights, coworking maven, digital nomad, lover of wine & tacos.