The Importance of Intimate Event Space Design
This post is all about how we design our event spaces to keep everyone – both the audience and the speakers – totally engaged and on the edge of their seats. After hosting hundreds of events, we’ve really hit upon the magic of small gatherings.
As London coworking space owners, you understand the value of community and shared experiences. Our event aims to mirror these values. The setup is designed to create connections, not just between attendees and speakers but also among attendees themselves.
Nowadays, when we’re all online being ‘flex’ and ‘remote first’, the real thrill of in-person events is about sparking those direct, personal connections and making moments that mean something that pushes us forward.
You’ve probably been to events that feel like you’re stuck in a school assembly or sitting in a lecture hall, right? There’s this awkward distance between you and the main action as another ‘data-driven’ PowerPoint unfolds in front of you that could have been a social media thread or a blog post.
Designing an event space for connection
Sure, there’s a thrill in being among a sea of people watching legends like Stormzy or the Foo Fighters at Glastonbury. But being far from the stage at an industry gathering will make you feel less involved, less invested and looking for something in your phone to rescue you.
That’s where our approach takes a sharp turn. We’ve figured out that bringing people closer together electrifies the whole room. We always want less than a hundred people so everyone is drawn into an experience where they’re connected, can contribute and be heard.
In fact, for us, fifty is the sweet spot for building real relationships and interactive experiences regularly.
This way, every London Coworking Assembly Breakfast Show isn’t just another date on the calendar – it becomes an ongoing transformative experience where you collectively generate connection, meaning and change.
Our Approach to Event Room Setup
We placed the audience around the speakers, reminiscent of an intimate comedy club setting.
This idea was inspired by nights at the Holly Bush in Hampstead in the 90s, where the proximity to performers created an unforgettable, electrifying experience. It was so packed and intimate you had to have your drinks handed from table to table because you could not stand and get to the bar.
There is a similar feeling when you’re at the Last Friday event at Impact Brixton coworking space below. When you are at this event, the sense of connection and community is off the charts, and it’s because of the room’s set-up and what happens in the wider community.
Event Space Expert ADvice
Here’s some advice directly from three of the most experienced voices in the event and community industry.
Author and consultant Peter Block has written extensively about community over the last thirty years.
In “Community: The Structure of Belonging“, Peter emphasises the importance of room setup and creating spaces where every voice can be heard and valued.
Peter believes that traditional, hierarchical setups, like auditorium-style seating or having a leader at the front of the room, create separation and passivity among participants.
Designing for Engagement and Connection:
For our next London Coworking Assembly Breakfast Show, we focus more than ever on creating a space that encourages discussion and interaction. The audience setup will be semi-circle, ensuring everyone is close to the speakers. The panel is a question and answer, not a lecture.
This layout is not just about physical proximity; it’s about creating an environment conducive to active engagement and spontaneous discussions.
Making an Event Floorplan for the first time
In 2024, we’re doing fewer events, so we want to be nearer our dream event every time we run. We’ve collaborated in planning with Sam from Silent Gliss and Shira at Rayon to work out our event floor plan. Amazingly, after a wide variety of events, it is the first time we’ve done this!
Unlike other event venues we’ve used in the past, the Silent Gliss showroom is a bit of a blank canvas. To better understand how we can utilize the space, we used Rayon, a web-based space design tool, to map the space. We could set the scale and measure the room by uploading a PDF floor plan provided by the Gliss studio.
Then, we placed each chair block thoughtfully, making two test fits and finally decided on the Amphi theatre to maximise engagement – after validating that the room could accommodate this setup.
In 2023, we had four rows of chairs that went ten deep. In 2024, we’re simply laying the chairs out to create more meet-and-greet space and encourage people to mingle and connect around the breakfast bar.
The Goal: Beyond Just an Event
Our primary objective is to go beyond the traditional event format.
Most talks and event panels could have been a blog post or a tweet, and everyone could have saved their time and money being there. We aim to create a platform for sharing stories and ideas where the discussion sparked during the event continues well beyond its conclusion. It’s about building a community, not just hosting an event.
In Summary: Creating Meaningful Connections
In conclusion, our approach to event setup is centred around fostering connections.
When people are physically and mentally close, they engage more deeply, leading to more meaningful interactions. Our upcoming events will embody this philosophy, creating a space where ideas and stories are shared freely, forging lasting connections within the coworking community.
Interested in learning more about the London Coworking Assembly? Subscribe to the Coworking Values Podcast!
WHERE DO I SIGN UP FOR THE BREAKFAST?
RSVP will only be via our weekly email newsletter – so if you want to join in our two London Coworking Breakfast Shows at the Workspace Design Show, sign up below.