Ramzi Makram-Ebeid's incredible co-working space, 'GSpace', provides an incentive for creative business professionals to escape the city smoke. Also there are swings.
Sophisticated, stylish living merges with quintessentially Egyptian architecture in Gouna to produce a distinct charm that draws not only Cairenes, but taste-conscious Egyptians from across the country. All year round, this luxurious town attracts those desiring serenity, indulgence, and a much-needed break from hectic work schedules. For many, simply the thought of returning to the dust, noise, and pollution of Cairo is enough to induce a post-holiday comedown – but what if a space existed that could allow city entrepreneurs to integrate this Red Sea calm with their working lifestyle? Above: Groggy-eyed after spending the night grooving to 70s pop hits, an individual with a pressing deadline may head to the vibrant orange cafe in search of cerebral stimulation and a healthy dose of Vitamin D in GSpace - Gouna's newest co-working space.
The arrival of GSpace, Gouna’s first dedicated, functional co-working space, makes the dream of more permanent relocation to this idyllic destination a reality. The space's fresh, eclectic design was spearheaded by one of Egypt's most illustrious interior and furniture designers Ramzi Makram-Ebeid, whose firm Human Nature - a boutique interior, furniture, and product design firm - is behind some of the coolest office spaces across Egypt. His goal here, he explains, was to create a sanctuary from the sensory overload that so often accompanies working environments in the city, but which would foster productivity among a varied client base.
Above: Friends may fancy some informal collaboration or a chat while relaxing on the comfortable sofas, envisioning themselves rather in a hammam than stressing over work.
Ebeid tells us that it was important to convey the "attitude and energy of Gouna," whilst maintaining good working trends and attention to space. Small details are the building blocks of GSpace’s success. Ebeid maintains that the importance of large writing spaces, power outlets, strong wifi, and comfortable seating cannot be overlooked; the hub is equipped with all the modern conveniences a creative professional needs - and all with a generous showering of natural light.
The funky co-working space seamlessly blends elements of fun and whimsy, with functionality. While the domed area provides a public meeting space for socialising and networking - complete with swings and a bar, the upstairs area is designed to be as quiet as possible. "As our screens are constantly full of action, I wanted to provide a space that promotes calm: less colour, serenity around you, and a beautiful view." But even this seemingly entirely functional zone retains a playful charm. Above: Those favouring a more traditional, get-down-to-the-grind approach may settle for a silent, more structured environment. But those with nervous inclinations or the tendency to become over-serious under pressure, do not fear: friendly dinosaurs guard the ceiling, adding a cheeky touch and serving to remind workers to retain a sense of lightheartedness.
In keeping with Gouna's enticing beauty, GSpace incorporates elements of traditional Egyptian architecture. There appears a global trend in the design of co-working spaces towards a kind of chic industrialism, yet Ebeid retains Islamic decorative features such as arches, domes, and latticing – albeit with a contemporary minimal twist.
He stresses that, rather than repeating himself, he considers each space a new project. Here, it is the central dome that provided the biggest opportunity for originality. This dramatic centerpiece, created by edgy local artist Aya Tarek, is sure to inspire those who meet beneath it. "Aya is a trusted colleague; I gave her a colour scheme and just let her run with it – she did a fantastic job."Above: Does anyone think this reminds them of a Cubism-inspired Hogwarts ceiling?
Indeed, this sleek, conceptual environment that blends in so well with the Gouna mindset is a far cry from the interior design with which Cairenes, in particular, are often assaulted. GSpace is the antithetis of gaudy wallpapers, outdated furniture, and all gold everything, so often found lurking in city buildings. Rather than leaving people despairing as if coming down from a bad trip, GSpace’s intelligent use of colour and material is sure to motivate individuals to produce their best work, and to provide incentive to work by the sea.
And for all those not yet convinced, perhaps your inner-children will rejoice at this secretive spot:Who said life was all work and no play?
Sign up for the daily Startup Digest.