WeWork opens Cape Town office

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 28 Jan 2020

Shared workspaces company WeWork has opened its third local office location in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The new office is based in the heart of Cape Town’s central business hub, at 80 Strand Street Building, which is co-owned by JSE-listed Emira Property Fund and Swish Property Group.

The company’s two other offices are based in Johannesburg: The Link in Rosebank, which hosts large enterprise businesses including Naspers, and another in West Street in Sandton, which opened earlier this year.

After months of financial trouble, last year WeWork signed a deal with SoftBank, which saw the Japanese tech giant inject an $8 billion (R117 billion) rescue investment and take over 80% of the shared workspaces company.

By November, the company’s value had plunged more than 80% to an estimated $4.9 billion.

WeWork SA GM Stafford Masie opened the new office, saying WeWork continues to build its presence across the country, challenging the typical expectation of traditional office space by reinventing the way people work through technology, community and flexibility.

“We’re thrilled to officially open our first location in Cape Town, the Mother City, which marks our third location on the African continent. It’s been amazing to watch WeWork’s remarkable growth across SA, which is thanks to both the demand we’ve seen from our existing members, as well as potential new enterprise members who are moving away from the traditional office model to a more flexible way of working.

“Having opened a record number of 52 buildings last month globally, we are excited to see what we can achieve in 2020, and as ever, our commitment to providing the best possible member experience and accelerating African innovations, remains top priority.”

WeWork says it has 625 locations in over 127 cities and 33 countries. The global workspace company’s 609 000 memberships represent global enterprises across multiple industries. The Cape Town office has over 600 desks, offered to WeWork’s members, which range from small start-ups to large enterprises.

WeWork says its interior design team partnered with local communities to create an authentic “craftsmanship” feel to the workspace, reflecting the culture of the city.

Dan Usiskin, interior design manager at WeWork EMEA, says: “We’re honoured to mark the launch of our first building in Cape Town. Our team of designers has incorporated the history and beauty of the city into the design of this new space with the use of bespoke artwork that celebrates the city’s culture; not only ensuring our members feel the comfort and familiarity of their hometown but that our members also feel inspired, happy and productive in our spaces.

“Our use of warm colours, homely furnishings and unique designs can be seen throughout the building with its South African influence; from locally inspired patterns and fabrics to its unique craftsmanship feel. It’s been a real pleasure to explore and embrace the city’s culture, and we are excited for the community here to grow and thrive.”

WeWork says its use of unique artwork is consistent throughout all buildings, and 80 Strand Street is no different.

“WeWork’s team of graphic designers created a bespoke piece of art that involves South Africa’s beloved ‘Chappies’ framed and mounted in a yellow acrylic box on the wall: this colourful and vibrant piece offsets the richer and deeper tones of the building, paying homage to South Africa’s culture, both old and new.”