Dan, co-owner of The Corner Palm coworking space
The Travelling Lights interview series tells the real stories of people living a life of their own design, as a traveller, digital nomad, freelancer, entrepreneur or expat, in the hope that their stories inspire you and provide some pointers to creating a life of your own design, whatever that may be.
My interest in co-working spaces has always had less to do with the walls and the floors and the physical space they occupy and more to do with the people and ideas you find within them. So often I discover that these spaces are housing mini-revolutions, movements, they're the physical manifestations of a new belief system, new ideas, and they're magnets for people with all kinds of interesting life stories doing interesting things. This is what I was reminded of during my visits to work from The Corner Palm co-working space in Byron Bay over the last few months in Australia. On extended visits to see my brother in Pottsville, I'd drive down a few days of the week to work from this Byron Bay space whenever I could to soak in the good vibes.
Set up within Byron Bay's Arts & Industry Estate, the space's neighbours include health food stores, cool cafés, local fashion labels, other co-working spaces and more. The Corner Palm does sit on a corner in the Estate, a sunny one with a big, leafy palm, catching the light every morning. The space is fit-out in mellow blonde wood and retro brick, oranges, browns and yellows, a seventies vibe to match the chilled out atmosphere you feel and slip into so easily when you're here. And that feeling is intentional, exactly what Dan Smith and his partner Nat Woods were seeking to create when they set this place up just over a year ago with Nat's brother Sean.
ON HOW THEY CAME TO SET UP THIS SPACE
DAN: We set the space up because we were freelancers and we were looking for a space to work that was outside of the house. But we wanted a space that kind of fit our values and our vibe, and all the other coworking spaces just seemed pretty tech focused. They were all about ‘start-ups', ‘rapid growth', ‘networking events'…
KATIE: Yeh! What's that thing? Incubating!
DAN: Yeh everybody's incubating but we didn't want to be incubated. We just wanted to be able to hang out with people and work alongside people but just as friends and get the same benefits but it's just so much more natural and…