Style meets substance as IWG brings luxury No18 to Singapore

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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February 21, 2020 10:30 AM SGT
No18 Capitol Singapore stands out with its cosmopolitan approach and the design here is unique from other brands under the IWG umbrella, says Betul Genc, country manager for IWG Singapore. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
No18 Capitol Singapore stands out with its cosmopolitan approach and the design here is unique from other brands under the IWG umbrella, says Betul Genc, country manager for IWG Singapore. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
International Workplace Group (IWG), the parent company of corporate office brands such as Regus and Spaces, has opened its first luxury co-working brand in Singapore. Called No18 Singapore Capitol, the 20,311 sq ft flexible workspace is in the historic Capitol Singapore in the republic’s Civic District. The facility is the brand’s first location outside Europe and America and is its flagship centre in the Asia Pacific.
Originating from Stockholm, No18 is a cosmopolitan members-only coworking club for businesses and individuals. As part of its global rollout of the luxury co-working brand by IWG, No18 Singapore Capitol joins the original centre in Stockholm and another location in Atlanta in the US. No18 was acquired by IWG in 2017 when it bought the coworking company from its founders Michel Gordin and Ariel Ramirez.
Located in Capitol Piazza, No18 is an upmarket flexible workspace by international office solution provider IWG (Picture: IWG/No18)
Located in Capitol Piazza, No18 is an upmarket flexible workspace by international office solution provider IWG (Picture: IWG/No18)
According to Gordin, who is also CEO of No18, “No18 provides an environment where work, leisure, and well-being can comfortably co-exist. Our newest location at the heart of Singapore’s legislative and judicial institutions, as well as the flourishing central business district by the Singapore River enables our members to move effortlessly from premium workspaces and access top quality dining options and cultural highlights that will serve to foster a well-rounded, rewarding business lifestyle.”
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Just before the new centre opened last month, Gordin and his business partner Ramirez spent two days in Singapore to hand-pick and place the wide selection of artwork, furniture, carpets, and European-style interior decorations that adorn the co-working space.
Most of the art, furniture, and interior decorations were hand-picked by the No18 founders, Michel Gordin and Ariel Ramirez (Picture: IWG/No18)
Most of the art, furniture, and interior decorations were hand-picked by the No18 founders, Michel Gordin and Ariel Ramirez (Picture: IWG/No18)
“What makes No18 different is the cosmopolitan approach and the design here is unique from other brands under the IWG umbrella. It emphasizes health, lifestyle, and art, and offered through the types of personalised services we offer here,” says Betul Genc, country manager for IWG Singapore.
According to Genc, IWG brands have always performed strongly in Singapore and it is the only country where all its office brands – Regus and Spaces, as well as Signature by Regus, HQ, and now No18 – are represented.
“Regus is a very good corporate brand, but we also want to create something unique and special. Spaces, another acquisition, has had strong performance in Europe after it started in Amsterdam, so when the company wanted to do something more upscale, more cosmopolitan, they turned to the No18 brand,” says Genc. “We definitely see that the demand in the market supports our decision to bring No18 here,” she adds.
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Several elegantly designed meeting spaces can be found in the members-only zone. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Several elegantly designed meeting spaces can be found in the members-only zone. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
No18 Singapore Capitol features a spacious member lounge to host visitors, 47 private offices, and four meeting rooms. The largest private office can accommodate 40 people, while smaller offices hold up to two people.
To operate the F&B and bar services offered at No18, IWG has partnered with world-renowned Kempinski Hotels, which operates the adjacent Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore. Members will benefit from complimentary breakfast every Monday and access to the Capitol Kempinski Hotel gym and spa facilities.

Full suite of office solutions

No18 Capitol Singapore opened in December last year and is about 50% occupied. This comes as the brand was launched in Singapore over the year-end period in 2019, which included Christmas, New Year, and the Chinese New Year. “The ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak is definitely not helping with any businesses recently, but we are still impressed in the demand for this location,” says Genc.
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The bar and bistro is operated by Kempinski Hotels and offers complimentary breakfast each Monday. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
The bar and bistro is operated by Kempinski Hotels and offers complimentary breakfast each Monday. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Close to half of the members at No18 are corporate clients while the rest are individuals and SMEs. Genc notes that corporate companies, particularly technology-focused companies, are the main drivers of demand from the corporate office market.
“Corporate real estate demands are changing as the way people work evolves. This is not only about managing your real estate costs, obviously it remains one of the key considerations for corporate companies, but it’s about retaining and attracting the right talent,” adds Genc.
It is also becoming more frequent to see corporates seeking a full suite of flexible work solutions for their employees, she says. “If you’re in frontline sales and your company allows you to have a membership card to access our island-wide locations, it would be a good part of a benefit package the company could offer you,” she says.
A 20-person private office at No18 Capitol Singapore that overlooks the fountain plaza. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
A 20-person private office at No18 Capitol Singapore that overlooks the fountain plaza. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Genc says that more corporate companies are offering this flexibility to employees, and IWG is currently in discussions with some financial companies who plan to offer an IWG membership to their customers as a value-added benefit to their product. However, she is unable to disclose the names of the companies at this time.

Identifying opportunities

“IWG has doubled its inventory in Singapore over the past three years. We’ve changed the look and feel of our network here, expanded our presence as we open new centres, and consolidated some of our older and relatively outdated centres and upgraded them to better facilities,” says Genc.
The company is exploring the possibility of opening a second No18 location in Singapore, after it stabilises the operations of No18 Capitol Singapore. “While we can’t confirm anything yet, given that in the last two months we have created a nice environment [with No18 Capitol Singapore] that has garnered such good comments from our customers and members, we definitely see that there is more potential in getting another No18 in Singapore,” says Genc.
The strong reception for No18 in Singapore has encouraged IWG to consider open another location in the future. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
The strong reception for No18 in Singapore has encouraged IWG to consider open another location in the future. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Elsewhere, IWG plans to open a new No18 at Battersea Power Station in London, as well as other locations in Chicago, Zurich, and Berlin. In the Asia Pacific region, Genc says they are eyeing other cities such as Hong Kong, Bangkok, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Osaka that could open in the future.
Since it was established in 1989, IWG has grown to manage over 3,300 office spaces around the world, and about 2,900 locations are under its Regus office brand. This established presence has helped the company grow over the years and it enabled it to seek out longterm partnerships to future growth, says Genc.
She adds, “At IWG, we also identify opportunities and try to seek partners who see the same growth opportunities that we do. In most cities you can find different types of office space, but what’s important are factors such as the location, the connectivity, the accessibility, and visibility for your business.”

Franchise deals in Asia

Besides acquisitions and organic growth plans, IWG is looking for franchise opportunities in Asia to grow its business. This comes as IWG concluded two other franchise deals in Japan and Taiwan last year.
Last month, the company signed a franchise partnership agreement with Philippine property developer Damosa Land to open new flexible workspaces in Mindanao. This means that Damosa will be exclusively allowed to develop and operate eight IWG-brand centres in cities such as Davo, Cagayan de Oro, and General Santos over the next five years.
No18 Capitol Singapore opened in December last year and is about 50% occupied. (Picture: IWG/No18)
No18 Capitol Singapore opened in December last year and is about 50% occupied. (Picture: IWG/No18)
In Singapore, IWG will focus on stabilising the operations of its office locations around the island, after it opened seven new locations last year. It plans to launch just one new Spaces location in April this year, branching out to the East Coast with a shophouse location in the Joo Chiat area. It will be its seventh Spaces location in Singapore when it opens.
It is also exploring opportunities with some developers here to potentially enter into profit-sharing deals in the future, but the talks are still under deliberations and more details could be revealed later, says Genc.
Genc remains optimistic on the outlook for the coworking sector in Singapore but expects further consolidation as inevitable. “The demand for flexible workspaces will continue to grow, but it is also important to create that demand for the business. We are investing heavily in demand generation, and our back office solutions support our plug-and-play offering. For us, opening a centre is just a matter of time.”
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