As a part of my survey of the Phoenix area co-working spaces, I spent a day working at Lab Phx. Proprietor, designer, and front-end developer Robert Renteria has had the space for almost two years but only recently opened it to co-working.
Lab Phx is a clean, well-lit space with some natural light, and has a contemporary feel to it – you can tell it was put together by a designer. It’s on the smaller side, probably accommodating about a dozen individuals comfortably. I would describe it as a pleasant and very productive space, it is quiet but with sufficient ambient activity and banter to keep you motivated. I’ve worked at several co-working spots in the valley, and have found that it’s tough to find that middle ground where a space is quiet enough to be productive yet busy enough to be energizing but not so busy as to be distracting. Lab Phx does a good job of striking a balance.
Lab Phx is in downtown Phoenix, centrally located at 818 Central Ave (no pun intended). I loved the area, I’m a transplant from NYC and it made me just a touch home sick having so many options within walking distance. There are more than a dozen places to eat or grab an after work drink and the light rail is literally right there. Although the light rail passes directly outside the front window, it generated very little noise, in fact I found it a pleasant distraction when it passed.
It comes down to size for this one – Lab Phx is by far the smallest space I worked from. It is less then half the size of the next smallest one I visited. Yes size is important, but it’s all relative – one person’s cozy is another person’s cramped. The day I spent working here, the space was not a factor since they were not near full capacity, however I would cap this space at about a dozen people at any one time.
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I started the day as I had visited the previous week to view the space and had some concern about the size – would it feel awkward to work in? Not at all.
Owner Robert Renteria is the definition of affable, extremely knowledgeable in his field and, loves to “talk shop”. The other individuals I met were equally friendly and I felt quite comfortable. It resonated as a very productive space and seemed to alternate between activity and quiet at a nice tempo. The one thing I’ve learned about co-working spaces is that they are as unique and individual as snow flakes. The question is not is it the best space but rather is it the best space for you?
Co-working is less about sharing space and more about community. For the Lab, I’d say this space would most appeal to designers and developers as it’s target demographic.
Next up: Elevate Coworking