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Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto

By Caroline Aksich| Photography by Derek Shapton

Where: 545 King St. W. How big: 30,000 square feet How much: There are two rental options: a dedicated desk is $525 to $575 a month, and offices—fit for a single person or up to eight people—run $1,100 to $4,500 a month Notable tenants: Pizzeria Libretto’s management team rents a cluster of desks Perks: Staff BBQs and daily snacks

In 2014, philanthropist and famed entrepreneur Raymond Chang co-founded Brightlane with the intention of giving a new generation of go-getters an environment in which to work, grow and collaborate. Today, Brightlane’s GM, Susy Renzi, calls the office “an all-inclusive hotel for business.” The company hired X-Design to transform its premises—three of four storeys in a 96-year-old building at King and Portland—into a futuristic glass workspace. Annual Entrepreneurship Awards dole out $25,000 to aspiring business owners in honour of Chang, who died in 2014. Applicants hop in the elevators, where they each deliver a one-minute pitch to a computer screen. If they pass that test, the elevator heads up to a panel of judges where they can elaborate on their ideas. Brightlane’s kitchen encourages social interaction among tenants from all three floors. And on Friday afternoons, Renzi beckons tenants down by cracking a keg (usually a local brew like Sweetgrass or Flying Monkeys).

The largest meeting room is an 80-seat auditorium equipped with a set of retractable bleachers:

brightlane1

Herman Miller accent chairs are scattered throughout the space:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
Herman Miller accent chairs are scattered throughout the space

The exterior got a makeover around the same time Brightlane moved in:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
The exterior got a makeover around the same time Brightlane moved in

 

Seventy per cent of members use private offices; the remaining 30 per cent are dedicated desk users:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
Seventy per cent of members use private offices; the remaining 30 per cent are dedicated desk users

A cafeteria-style kitchen provides a stylish place to snack or work (or do both at once):

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Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
A cafeteria-style kitchen provides a stylish place to snack or work (or do both at once)

A Pizzeria Libretto occupies the building’s ground floor, and the restaurant’s management team rents desks upstairs:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
A Pizzeria Libretto occupies the building’s ground floor, and the restaurant’s management team rents desks upstairs

The 11 meeting rooms, named after nearby streets, can be booked online:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
The 11 meeting rooms, named after nearby streets, can be booked online

This stylized photo of the street is by Chris Albert:

Inside King West co-working space Brightlane, where entrepreneurs share the room with Pizzeria Libretto
This stylized photo of the street is by Chris Albert

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Clarification
February 10, 2017

An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Brightlane’s address as 544 King Street West. The correct address is 545 King Street West.

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