Where you’ll want to work 40 hours a week. By Brian Anderson Photography by Melissa Kelly (melissakellyphotography.com)
The definition of work has changed. A nine-to-five gig in a cubicle? That’s certainly not for everyone — and certainly not at Kismet Cowork.
“Asking someone to conform their business model to yours isn’t something I was interested in,” said Christopher Plant, the owner and founder of Kismet Cowork. “If you’re a member here at Kismet, you have 24/7 access. You can come and go as you please.”
Kismet Cowork, located at 4230 Main Street, follows the inaugural Kismet Cowork in Chestnut Hill (opened in 2017) and another coworking space in the Spring Arts district (opened in 2018). At 13,000 square feet, Kismet Cowork in Manayunk dwarfs the other two locations, which are around 6,000 square feet, Christopher said.
And what a space it is.
“The space is epic,” Christopher said. “We wanted to build a super cool, functional space that’s design focused, and that makes working safe, effective, and efficient.”
“When you walk in the door, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m in a different kind of space,’” he added.
Indeed, Kismet Cowork is a space to experience. It’s bright and airy. It’s organic and industrial. It’s classic and modern. It’s deliberate and carefree. There’s a stage and soon, a podcast recording studio.
The space is filled with textures — wood, cement, metal, fabric, leather, and glass. Of course, it’s all by design thanks to Christopher’s eye.
A trained artist, Christopher worked in light and set design in New York City before moving to Philadelphia. Because he works in real estate, Christopher understands how we connect with spaces emotionally.
“You have to think of the whole system,” Christopher said. “What does it feel like when you touch the wood on your desk? How does your chair roll across the floor? How does the door slide into its lock? All of these things are really important.”
So why come and work at Kismet? Christopher acknowledges it can be a tough sell if your workplace is your home, car, or favorite coffee shop.
Kismet Cowork is going out of its way to make sure you want to be here, Christopher said. It’s an attention to detail you won’t find in other coworking spaces. It’s the beauty behind every design decision.
Christopher maintains that Kismet is built on the principle that the quality of the space you’re working in has an impact on your attitude, your psyche and the work that you do.
“From that perspective, I wanted to focus on this higher echelon of space,” he said. “For me, this is really about creating a highly intentioned and authentic community that serves the whole person, not just an individual piece of it.”
“I’m looking to create a fun intersection between work and life,” Christopher said.
Christopher plans on Kismet Cowork growing into a community where people share their experiences and expertise. In that way, Kismet can be a business accelerator. But it’s also a place where you can show up, have a beer and talk with other interesting people.
Christopher explains that he plans on hosting community events with a business focus, like programs focused on social media, classes on accounting, and public speaking events. Continuing education is a benefit you may miss if you work remotely.
“Coworking, for me, is a gateway to create community and help people achieve their goals. There’s a world out there of highly engaged people looking for highly engaged people so they can share their curiosity and come together to create new solutions,” he said. “For us, it’s about figuring out what people want and how we can bring them together.”
Kismet Cowork offers different membership levels, which include community memberships (come in for coffee and an event, for example), floating and private desks, as well as private offices. There are conference rooms, telephone booth-style alcoves, and a full kitchen, too.
Christopher said Kismet Cowork is ideal for people interested in coworking spaces, the amenities that come with it, and everything Manayunk offers, like restaurants and recreation.
“I think there is this desire to be in an environment to feel that traditional camaraderie of a workplace,” Christoper said. “Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you want to work from home. And just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’re at your highest level there.”
Kismet is a Turkish world, meaning “fate.” Chris defines it as serendipity. The tagline that’s scrawled on one of the huge, front windows reads, “Kismet: The intersection of luck and serendipity.” Maybe it’s a blend of those three definitions.
“Kismet came to me because of the inherent possibilities at play when you bring people who don’t know each other together,” he said.
“For us — always and forever more — it’s about creating community. And it’s about making sure we’re of service to the goals of our people in a meaningful way. That’s what makes it interesting to me.”
At Kismet Cowork, you can make your own space at a private desk or relax in a comfy chair in the lobby. Look down on Main Street or tuck yourself away in a corner office. Just make yourself comfortable and plan to stay a while.
“We want to be here a long time,” Christopher said. “We want people to enjoy working here.”