The creative co-working space you've probably never noticed
Co-working spaces may make you think of rows of desks where businesspeople go to spend their day’s work, but in the Grund area of Luxembourg City a different kind of co-working space exists – for people working in the creative field.
Am Gronn houses Luxembourg’s rising artists and creators, playing host to a range of local talent, from Christine Faber and her series of Luxembourg in Lockdown watercolours to the striking graphic designs of Irina Moons, local craft beers or Hungry Pigeon bakers who making Matcha cookies. It also has a creative store where artists sell their work and a bistro.
Its eclectic set-up and location, in a cultural area in the heart of the city, also has a creative store where artists sell their work.
“We opened Am Gronn with the intention of bringing design and art closer to the public through exhibitions and creative workshops,’’ said one of the founding members, Maida Halilovic. The founders’ mission was to enable designers to not only share but also explain the artistic process behind their work and focus on “demystifying the ‘high prices’ often attached to handmade, sustainable local creations”.
Halilovic and co-founder Irina Moons’ own experiences working in the creative field gives them an insight into the struggles that many independent producers encounter, such as how to find funding opportunities when starting out alone as an independent artist.
Launching Am Gronn in 2019 was no easy task.
‘‘We were initially planning on launching an Association [asbl - non profit organisation] and prepared our business plan according to the functioning of that model’’, said Halilovic.
But the plan stalled when the rental of a co-working ‘office’ space was deemed far too lucrative for the model of an association and the two women had to adapt - fast.
‘‘This threw us back on all our projects,’’ said Halilovic. “We could not benefit from any financial support as a Sarl and so, the day before receiving the keys to our space, we had to adapt the business plan in order to become self-sufficient.’’
But co-working has its benefits. Shared space equals shared costs and that brings savings. Each co-creator at the Am Gronn has his or her own specialism, from videographers, graphic designers, illustrators and even lighting engineers.
‘‘We are all very complementary ’and try to work on different projects together’’ Halilovic said. Their current common projects include work for Esch 2022 European Capital of Culture, INECC (Institution Européen Chant Choral) and UP foundation, an educational association.
In July, the floods which swept across Luxembourg devastated the Grund area of the capital and Am Gronn was forced to rethink their plans.
‘’Friends, family and co-workers helped clean up the space on the first day [of the flooding] and prepare it for the upcoming days. They brought buckets and towels, sand bags, food and stayed until the end,’’ Halilovic said.
No one's space escaped damage. Newly built enclosed wooden ‘office’ spaces and the bistro had to be entirely dismantled in the aftermath. But, perhaps the worst news they received was discovering that their insurance company would cover none of the expense. While the landlord will foot the bill for the renovations, all contents and material costs are lost, Halilovic said.
With rental spaces gone and planned exhibitions paused or cancelled due to the onset of renovation work, this has proved to be a testing time for the fledgling business.
‘‘We don’t have any idea when we will be able to reopen again,’’ said Halilovic. ‘‘Entrepreneurship is difficult to manage but the pandemic and then the floods are really a tough pill to swallow.’’