With face-to-face communication being rapidly replaced by email and chat, goods and services being purchased online, and big city apartments shrinking year by year, urban dwellers are trading their lonely, cramped living rooms for the real-life buzz of BEING SPACES: commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren't just the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin.

Starbucks is a great example on a global scale, while many companies in Japan, China and South-Korea offer deluxe gaming and manga-reading facilities, as well as semi-private DVD booths.

BEING SPACES charge us for eating, drinking, playing, listening, surfing, working, or meeting, just as we would at home or in the office, while successfully reintegrating us into city life. >> Email this trend to a friend.


MAY 2003
| Commercial living-room-like settings that facilitate small office/living room activities like reading a book, checking email, meeting friends, or doing your admin. Oh, and have a coffee of course! Starbucks remains the leader in this field, having teamed up with T-Mobile to introduce WiFi (wireless internet access) in most of its US outlets.

Now other BEING SPACES are following suite: Borders Bookstores (who already operate café-style reading spaces in their superstores) signed a deal with T-Mobile to incorporate hot spots (WiFi-access points) in its 400 bookstores in the US, and Kinko's, king of small business BEING SPACES, just signed a deal to have T-Mobile unwire 1,000 Kinko's locations across the US. Whether you're in B2C or B2B, it's time to examine which of your products and services deserve a comfy (and profitable) cameo in a BEING SPACE near you (HP printers in Starbucks would come in handy!)

P.S. One more Starbucks observation: newspaper ads for 'The Benton' apartment building in Fremont, California prominently feature the built-in Starbucks outlet; the ads even included the Starbucks logo in the real estate agent's contact details section. Will the scent of freshly brewed coffee and a downstairs BEING SPACE add a premium to the rent? ;-)