A network of members-only co-living spaces branded Norm have launched in spots across Europe and the US, which are designed to train guests in the “art of conversation”.
Norn has so far opened properties in London, Barcelona, Berlin and San Francisco, where members can stay for up to six months.
Founded by Travis Hollingsworth, the clubs aim to foster connections between its residents by hosting weekly social gatherings and dinners where they can discuss a wide range of set topics.
The concept for the club was informed by Hollingsworth’s time at Stanford university’s Graduate School of Business, where he studied Interpersonal Dynamics – a programme that teaches small groups of students how to develop strong professional relationships.
“Our view is that there has been so much emphasis on physical spaces, but not enough thinking on who is there, what we discuss, and what we do together,” he told Dezeen.
When it came to securing properties for Norn, Hollingsworth looked for buildings that were typical of each location’s architecture.
The London branch is located inside a Georgian terrace, while the Berlin base is set within one of the city’s signature L-shaped flats. A traditional Catalonian family home plays host to the Barcelona branch, while a Victorian townhouse the San Francisco property.
As well as containing a handful of communal areas, each residence also had to be large enough to sleep four-to-five people to create a “balance [of] privacy and sociability”.
Instead of employing an interior designer to creating the aesthetic of each branch, Hollingsworth and his small team visited a series of local antique markets to find unique ornaments and furnishings that could be used to dress the rooms.
Pieces in the properties include patterned Turkish daybeds, plum-coloured roll top baths and wooden cabinets.
“The last thing we wanted to do is to replicate the midcentury craze that gives you the same feeling no matter where you go in the world,” Hollingsworth explained.
“If everything was prim and proper then people wouldn’t feel so comfortable and open up to share the stories from their lives – but because it’s quirky and full of warmth people come in and start having a real conversation.”
Earlier this year architects Tom and James Teatum created a co-living space in London’s Hammersmith that incorporated informal work and living areas, intended to prompt millenials to spend more time at home.
The emerging trend for co-living follows on from the great success of co-working spaces – several have opened across London’s capital in 2018 alone. Architecture studio Soda opened a flexible workspace in Victoria which featured pared-back interiors, while Surmon Weston created a shared office inside an old church in Islington that has colourful stained glass partitions.
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