MOW builds urban culture

The Sponda coworking hubs MOW Mothership and MOW Stargate, operating in the centre of Helsinki and in Ruoholahti, liven up their environment with communal events. The best ideas come from experimenting without fear.

The meeting has nearly 20 attendees from various industries: restaurateurs, a florist, people from the culture centre. And then there are the MOW members who have gathered up this crowd. The agenda of this production meeting is still a little hazy. No one knows what it is that they are all about to create, but everyone has ideas they would like to see happen on their shared stretch of road on Pieni Roobertinkatu.

“Initially, we simply knew we wanted to create something new in the cityscape we all share,” says Elmeri Kauko, captain at the MOW Mothership operating in Pieni Roobertinkatu.

The ideas presented in the meeting were refined into a block festival called Pikku Roba – Isot bileet (“Little Roba, big party”) in early June. 

It was a great example of the type of operator MOW wants to be: unprejudiced, open, enabling, encouraging a sense of community.

“We never use the phrase ‘That doesn’t work’,” says Kauko.

Dana Hautanen, captain at MOW Stargate, which opened in August in Ruoholahti, continues: “MOW equals a community, and that is not limited inside our walls.”

MOW goes where there are no structures in place

In addition to the block festival, MOW has organised a number of other events, the most recent of which was the opening of MOW Stargate. The event was open to all and formed part of the programme for the Night of the Arts. According to Hautanen and Kauko, the intention at MOW Stargate is to test the same concept of working together as in the block festival of Pieni Roobertinkatu.

“Ruoholahti doesn’t particularly have an urban culture scene, but that only makes it a more inspiring environment for us to try new things. When there are no structures in place, interesting ideas can be created,” says Dana Hautanen.

“It feels like the area is just waiting for someone to start creating new culture.”

Participation comes naturally at MOW

During the Flow festival in August, Stargate was transformed into a pop-up hotel, accommodating representatives of the international media, etc. The MOWtel concept was also completely new; the trial over a single weekend served as a study of the borders between workplace and home.

“For many, co-working refers to a shared, communal working space. We want to be a hub that enables the creation of something new. As work and other time are already mixed up in your head, the premises can also be mixed up,” says Nina Ruotsalainen, Fleet Commander and Creative Head at MOW.

Kauko, Hautanen and Ruotsalainen all take for granted that MOW is an active operator and a creator of a sense of community in its area.

“Why shouldn’t an operator take part in creating urban culture?” asks Dana Hautanen.

“In today’s world, it doesn’t make sense to play in your own pen and think your actions don’t contribute to the grand scale of things,” summarises Nina Ruotsalainen.

Published 24.10.2017