Roaming Office – Workshop17 Firestation

08 Aug 2023
Located on Baker Street in Rosebank, Workshop17 Firestation is testament to the innovation of the modern-day office. Spread across several floors with superb views, this co-working space offers an array of amenities and features that cater to the diverse needs of its members. We recently visited Workshop17 Firestation as part of our roaming office series. It's a day when our team is hosted to work in a new space and given an opportunity to learn about what's on offer for all those hustling in Joburg. 
A guaranteed warm welcome at Workshop17 Firestation in Rosebank. Photo: Workshop17.

Workshop17 is located in the Firestation building, a more recent addition to what was the historic Rosebank Fire House No. 9 which dates back to the early 1930s. The firehouse is Johannesburg's oldest operational fire station and is revered as a heritage site. This historical significance adds character to the workspace, and the management has creatively preserved some of the building's original elements, incorporating them into the modern design. Try counting how many fire engines you can spot on all three floors of Workshop17.

The building initially started downstairs at the heritage location but due to increased popularity, it needed more space, expanding to the 10th floor which is now also the workspace's main floor and reception area. It was here that we were enthusiastically welcomed by the friendly staff. The atmosphere and mood are warm and inclusive, fostering a sense of community and belonging. It felt like studying at a friend’s house, except you actually do the work!
Breakfast at Workshop17 Firestation. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.

Our day doesn’t start until the first coffee, and luckily the Workshop17 Firestation baristas wake up early to help kick-start your day. In the morning we were treated to a spread that included yoghurt and fruit pots, a berry smoothie that should be sold in stores, and croissants that had us clearing the plate. 

Let’s meet!

Our working space was in one of the larger boardrooms on the 10th floor. Spacious, with loads of natural light and lovely views. Workshop17 Firestation offers six meeting rooms, 23 private offices, 170 hot desks and plenty of small video conferencing pods, as well as members' lounge spaces and outdoor seating on a wraparound balcony hugging the building. All of the meeting rooms have either writeable panels or walls which are perfect for brainstorming and mind-mapping. While the spaces are fun and beautifully kitted out, Workshop17 keeps pragmatism at its core, so you'll find innovative spaces like cosy nap booths that allow for quick recharging and curtain pods offering privacy for focused work.

Who’s there

"Show up and work" at Workshop17 Firestation. Photo: Workshop17.

Workshop17 Firestation advertises itself as an all-inclusive co-working space, where members can access fully serviced offices and a range of amenities. The convenience of "show up and work" makes it an ideal choice for freelancers, entrepreneurs and businesses looking for a flexible workspace. This co-working space houses a significant number of NGOs, making it a hub for organisations dedicated to social causes and community development. 

Beyond the NGO presence, Workshop17 Firestation also attracts businesses from various sectors, ranging from start-ups to established corporations. This blend of entities creates fertile ground for collaboration and fosters plenty of easy networking opportunities.
Our delicious lunch at the Workshop17 Firestation café. Photo: Johannesburg In Your Pocket.

We stepped out of our meeting room for lunch at the café where we enjoyed buttery lamb chops, cheesy potato wedges, and steak slices with a mushroom sauce that were perfectly complemented by fresh roti. The vegetarian offerings were quite a crowd-pleaser and included crusted cauliflower cheese balls and roasted vegetable skewers. We were impressed not only by the quality of the food but also by how healthy, colourful and delicious it was. 

Views and views

Panoramic views during the work day – on top of a fully functioning fire station in the heart of Rosebank, no less. Photo: Workshop17.

We loved taking in the views from the terraces – it adds so much space to any working environment. On the walls of Workshop17 is an amazing collection of artworks curated by the W17 Gallery which ensures works are rotated regularly. You can buy pieces straight off the walls, and you'll want to (plus, you can even use your eBucks if you are an FNB eBucks member). When we visited we were surrounded by vibrant city photo portraits, shot by Caroline Suzman (they were recently exhibited at Wits Art Museum). 

Going green 

Sustainability is at the forefront of the space's values. The in-house design team focuses on creating environmentally friendly and forward-thinking green initiatives. The members' café, for instance, encourages sustainability by offering discounts on purchases when using an eco-mug rather than blowing your way through disposable cups.

Local design

The furniture and booths, designed by renowned designer David Krynauw, add a touch of elegance and functionality to the workspace. With comfort and productivity in mind, these pieces blend seamlessly with the overall aesthetic of Workshop17 Firestation. We also loved the funky red farmhouse-style bench by award-winning furniture manufacturer Houtlander (that has a showroom at one of our favourite places, Kramerville Design District). 

With a blend of creativity and corporate professionalism, Workshop17 Firestation is a friendly co-working space with a thriving community of like-minded individuals working together to create something extraordinary. We will be back! 


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