The Aire Commune, a lively collaborative space
In the shade of an umbrella on one of several picnic tables around the area, two laptops are placed back to back as their owners face each other.
“I work in an office nearby, and I decided to come and work on my project here for an hour or two to enjoy the nice weather,” said Émilie.
Véronique, who is self-employed, enjoys leaving her apartment. “It’s great to have a change of scenery!” she said.
Both of them can come with their laptops to Aire Commune every day, free of charge, and enjoy the work spaces and free Wi-Fi in a relaxed atmosphere. There’s no obligation to buy anything, although there is a bar, café and snack bar on site.
Getting out to meet people
The Aire Commune in Mile End may seem like a nebulous concept, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Its six co-founders, including Philippe Meunier and Émilie Wake, who are well-known in the field of event planning, are working on a second pilot project in the Quartier de l’Innovation, and may even export the idea to other big cities.
“In Quebec, in the summertime, people need to get outside! And this is a way to meet other professionals; less working in a silo,” said Meunier when the space opened.
At neighbouring tables, people work on the same project or share encouraging glances from time to time. Some people have swapped their usual coffee for an end-of-the-day beer or lemonade. A little further, in one of two rooms in a converted container, a team meeting is being held, which participants say is “more creative” in this context. On the stage where a yoga class was being held earlier, some people are working stretched out on beanbags. Others, relaxing in the site’s giant hammocks, seem free of any work-related concerns.
Discover and decompress
Once the song “Too Young to Burn”bySonny and the Sunsets starts playing, it means that the evening — and its freedom — are settling in. There are more drink orders at the bar, the crowd grows bigger, the volume goes up and discussions no longer include deadlines. Tonight, there’s a happy hour. Tomorrow night, there’ll be a dance workshop.
“We like to come here after work,” said one small group, as their children joyfully played.
What: A work space and gathering place
Where: Corner of Rue Bernard and Avenue de Gaspé in Mile End
When: Through September 21