Living, Learning, and Working with Pirro Cece of Class & Co
What began as a desire to combine working with learning has since turned into a coworking revolution.
Founded by Pirro Cece, Class & Co is a community of intellectual professionals from a variety of fields with one thing in common: a desire to learn and grow alongside like-minded individuals. Since it was created, Class & Co has proven to be just that and so much more. Between the regular class offerings, musical events, local partnerships, and intricately designed details, this coworking space is just what you need to supercharge both your work and personal life.
Tell us how Class & Co. Began.
I always wanted to mix work and learning somehow. Learning has always been one dimensional and working was very confined to the cubicle. I started envisioning a professional work space, where you can break up your day with multiple activities and stimulating seminars. I envisioned a dynamic learning environment where the members worked, took a break by attending a digital marketing class, for example, and then they went back to work, and finished the day by going to an inspiring talk with a social component after; all under one roof.
To create this vision, I needed a partner in crime and funding. I received much more than that with Andi. We had met many many years ago on the soccer field and grew closer over the years. His contracting company would turn the vision into a physical reality.
We found a location with exposed brick and tons of sunlight. Then, after a four month build out, the place was ready to welcome its first members. Three months on and we couldn’t be happier with the turn out.
You’ve done comedy and really bring character and fun to the space. What would you say your comedy experience brings to working in coworking?
I think comedy has helped me think on my feet. Being a business owner is like doing stand up, except everyone is heckling you all the time and no one is listening. Thankfully, I am eastern European so the heckling and not listening begins at home.
More than anything, stand up is a massive leap of faith. You write something you think is funny, and you take a leap and hope the audience latches on to it. Similarly, we created Class & Co with the hope that it resonates with the audience. I am thankful we took that leap.
How would you describe the community at Class & Co?
It sounds like a joke almost: “A priest, UX designer and a dancer walk into a coworking space.” But it’s the reality over here at Class & Co. It is a tapestry of different materials and colors that seamlessly weave together. There are interactions between seemingly different worlds who often find something in common within seconds. Usually, it is about how annoying the founder of the company is— haha.
You have so many events! What are some highlights from this past year?
Where do I start? We’ve had some wonderful classes from Photoshop, to Storytelling, to the Fundamentals of Film Making. Sofar Sounds has also brought some wonderful musicians over, and turned Class & Co into an intimate music venue for the night. We’ve also been able to host a few film production companies, and our space has even encouraged some members to start recording in our podcast room.
From the train car phone booth to the faux fireplace, the space really has fun details along with being an open, crisp space. Can you tell us more about the design choices?
For that I would have to refer you to our interior designer. Full disclosure, she is my sister, Elira. Her idea was to create a space where the members discovered a new detail every single day.
We wanted to create a sense of wonder. The phone booth is Harry Potter inspired, for example. You’re a coworker, Harry. The fireplace was created to form a cozy corner that inspires one to be productive and creative. We also have bleachers in our event space, where, beyond providing us with seating space during full capacity events, also provide us with storage. Hint: under the bleachers. Maximization and versatility were paramount to the vision.
Our space is relatively small— about 4,000 square feet— and so we had some challenges with the architectural layout. Maybe we will teach a class on it at some point.
Moreover, it was very important for us to create different working environments within the space. Some prefer to work from a desk, while others prefer the lounge-y feel of the fireplace. I love it when members lie down and work on top of the bleachers or take a phone call in the podcast room. Our space is dynamic in that way.
We love that you make a conscious effort to partner with local businesses. Would you say that coworking spaces have a responsibility to supporting local?
Of course. As a local business, you can imagine how hard it is to compete against giant corporations — where’s my pitchfork? This goes beyond the responsibility of just coworking spaces. Every local business should do their part. I cannot speak highly enough of our local partners. Whether it is bringing us coffee and treats once a week— shoutout to Charter Coffeehouse— to letting us leave fliers in their shops like at Variety coffee, to handling our catering needs from Hummus Market, to offering free painting supplies for our painting classes from Artist and Craftsman Supplies. The local community has been so wonderful in welcoming us, that we will never be able to pay them back for the kindness and support. We can certainly try every day though.
What’s coming up for Class & Co.? What are you excited about?
So many cool things coming up. We have some comedy shows, as well as more concerts from Sofar Sounds. In February, we will add some classes like languages, UX, design, arts and crafts, music, and many more. Best of all, the roof will be open for the summer - so rooftop yoga, concerts and movie screenings on the regular. Excitement through the roof. Am I right? Most exciting of all is to continue the wonderful relationship we have with Croissant. They have supported us since day one by featuring us in their newsletter and giving us shout-outs. Fun fact, they are even writing a post about us.