Making a list of places in Milan where you can do smart working seems like an easy task. For us at Domus, it's not at all.
Because instead of judging the coolness of a place or the quality of pastry cream in a café (a topic that is key for me, by the way), we delve into issues of accessibility, spatial organisation and other related dynamics. In the end, we always come back to architecture.
To write about “cafes and places where you can work in smart working”, we cannot avoid mentioning the revolutions taking place in the world of work (this article is part of our new Modern Work section), we cannot ignore the topic of digital nomadism and we cannot avoid talking about opportunities such as near working.
Milan has been among the hardest hit by the effects of the lockdown, but it is also the one that - as frequently happens - has been able to offer solutions and long-term visions in response to the changed conditions imposed by the pandemic.
The concept of near working, introduced by the Milanese administration at the beginning of 2021, changes the perspective of work and puts the city's spaces back at the centre. The topic is that smart workers, freelancers and the new categories of flexible and precarious workers can work in spaces that are only a few minutes away from home. The 15-minute city is the place of proximity and the virtuous interweaving of local, city and global networks.
For some time now, new hybrid spaces have been multiplying in the city: actual domestic extensions, places of sharing in which work and social life are blended. Our selection is therefore not only a practical guide for those who want to work outside their home without paying a subscription in one of the many coworking spaces, but also a reflection on possibilities that could become the norm in the future.
In the list we find bars and clubs that dedicate a part of their spaces to coworking (or which informally are gathering places for flexible workers), hostels and hotels that hybridize their common areas, cultural centres that also care about the daily life of young creatives, coworking spaces that disguise themselves as cafés, bookshops that become living rooms, museum cafés where business meetings take place. This list cannot fail to include municipal libraries: an essential, welcoming and functional service for those looking for a quiet working space (and for those who do not have to make too many work calls). In short, the lowest common denominator of these spaces is that they have open Wi-Fi and do not require payment at the entrance.