WeWork’s new India HQ blends office design with local culture

Employees and members enjoy shared amenities including a library, café, and sunlit atrium

When you enter WeWork Prestige Central, a newly opened building in Bengaluru that’s part member space, part regional headquarters, the first thing you notice is the light. Natural light drenches the room by way of the large, ethereal skylight, and the intensity is magnified by special materials that take full advantage of the sunny situation. “We used bricks that extruded and filtered the light in a very interesting way,” explains designer Camille Faury-Donnet. “The ground floor is extremely bright, but when you go to the first floor, where there are a lot of smaller spaces, the light is very natural and dim.” This lighting strategy is especially nuanced, and makes for a productive workspace or an energizing place to recharge. 

The magnificence of Prestige Central can be chalked up to collaboration. “We wanted to develop a new aesthetic to deploy across the regions,” says creative director Reuben E. Hernandez-Correa, who worked on the Prestige  project along with his fellow designers Elizabeth Pipal and Faury-Donnet. “We came up with a design that everyone agreed on, and we worked closely with the local team to bring that vision to life.”

Inside WeWork Prestige Central.

Creative director Francois Gramoli, who led the local team, says, “Prestige Central has lots of winks to culture from different parts of the country.” From terra-cotta tiles in the washrooms and hand-painted Indian murals to the Jaisalmer yellow sandstone top on the community table and the large brick walls framing the atrium, nods to Indian culture run through the space. The eco-friendly cane and bamboo furniture were made by a local vendor, and Gramoli’s team sourced the accessories throughout India: The blue pottery was made in Delhi, while wool for the furnishings were sourced from northeast India.  

“The effect is very eclectic yet authentic,” says Gramoli, noting that the items can’t be found online. “We wanted something one of a kind for the layering of the design. We did get a few accessories from big brands, but we teamed it up with a handmade vase or a kitschy accessory we found at a flea market.”

Prestige Central’s design is different from other WeWork buildings in Bengaluru. A dedicated space for a library, a teahouse, and a game room are just a few specialties that make the space stand out.

The focal point of the space is the atrium. “We wanted to celebrate the space,” Pipal says. 

The atrium connects all floors, and features large sofas where members can meet. “The elements in the space were put together in a way that fosters that connection, creating places for collaborating and places to retreat and do some quiet work,” explains Hernandez-Correa.

Like all of WeWork’s staircases, the atrium staircase is designed to foster connections. Gramoli and his team hope that as members take the stairs, they will bump into a fellow member (and maybe their dog, as Prestige Central is canine-friendly).

The café on the ground floor, operated by local coffee roaster Blue Tokai, offers healthy, environmentally conscious food. Prestige Central also partners with local entrepreneurs who offer sustainable packaging for members. 

Unlike other WeWork cafés, Prestige Central’s is open to both members and non-members. Manisha Bajaj, a senior lead designer with the Bengaluru team, says that the café was intended to create awareness among non-members who may then be interested in joining the community. “We also have a pop-up space where members and non-members can showcase their products,” says Bajaj.

As Gramoli defines it, “Prestige Central is a good representation of what WeWork is, who we are as a brand, and what we are offering our members.”

Asha Mahadevan is a writer based in Mumbai. She holds a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University. Her work has appeared in several publications such as Queens Courier, Mid Day, Mumbai Mirror, and Firstpost.

Interested in workspace? Get in touch.