Looking at the cardboard desks, chaise longues and designer furniture, maxi-screen for Xbox and tabletop pool, it seems anything but a workplace. And yet, the enormous "Passion Working Space" sign dispels any doubts. Its model? American and north European coworking spaces. Its mission? To create the first web district in Italy.
Italy's Silicon Valley was created in Brescia Due within a renovated and updated industrial pole that has the air of Europe's major capitals. It is here that Tag - which stands for Talent Garden - was founded: 750 sqm of offices open 24/7 and divided into 56 work stations costing 250 euros a month (including internet connection, of course).
Everything from a simple desk to the conference room that can be rented quickly and easily. For just a few days or even longer periods. Twenty photographers, videomakers, graphic artists and designers have already made reservations.
Beyond districts, business networks, company clusters and supply chain consortiums. In Brescia they talk about coworking as a way to concentrate professional skills within the same sector (in this case, web and communications) and create shared services and collaboration. The goal is to create a sort of continuous brain-storming aimed at being a talent incubator.
Tag was formed around three very young entrepreneurs: Davide Dattoli (21), Enrico Ballerini (25) and Gianfausto Ferrari, leader of Superpartes SpA (service company for companies specialized in mobile internet). "We think the same thing that is being done in other parts of the world must also be done in Italy," Dattoli explains. "Many talents (and there are really a lot of them) strive to bring to life their ideas and dreams working all by themselves, maybe out of the basement of their own homes. A physical space must be opened for them, a space that can host skilled people and allow them to work freely on whatever they want."
So, the areas in which to relax between the offices are a welcome addition in order to foster partnerships and collaboration. "We chose Brescia," Dattoli adds, "because it is a city with entrepreneurism in its DNA, a city with a long-standing tradition and tremendous capacity for 'networking'.
In fact, some of the most successful models of districts were created here and they range from Lumezzane's housewares and plumbing supplies to Ospitaletto's chairs and furniture, not to mention the arms manufacturers in Valtrompia."
In America, coworking has functioned and continues to function. Who knows if Italian professionals are ready to go beyond the conceptual barrier of competition in order to embrace the idea of collaboration? Well, now the space to see it happen exists. We just have to wait for the ideas.