BC Papula Rautatalo - Everything you need, nothing more, nothing less
BC Papula Rautatalo // Grade: 8
Rautatalo is a brilliant location for a coworking space - it's no surprise there's two of them there. BC Papula is right next door from UMA Esplanadi, both of them enjoying the key location in the very heart of Helsinki's business and commercial center, with the added bonus of residing in an Alvar Aalto building from 1955. Needless to say the first impression walking up to the BC Papula Coworking space reception is an impressive experience. The indoor courtyard fully clad in Aalto original curved black tile and the soaring ceiling are breathtaking. What happens next though, is not.
The helpful staff at the clearly marked reception are happy to take you in and give you a tour of the coworking space on that same level. The space has a slight odd sense of a 'makeshift office' - as if there was a hurry to put it together and they had to compromise on a few things. It's not blatant, but there seems to be just a few desks too little, and the ones that are there don't exactly match.
We're taken straight to the community breakfast, a nice light and healthy affair, and are introduced to the community members. It's all rather warm and happy, and the community seems active in reaching out to each other and us.
The space and the service are functional to a tee and BC Papula has found ways to utilize digital platforms for easy networking and community activity. Members did comment the digital channel isn't very active though, and the electronic notice board on the wall is a little out of date.
As we're talking with Community Manager Saara Niemi, members come by with slight issues regarding house rules. The fully open space is divided according to function, and apparently the quiet space get's some interference from the phone booth area. I'm happy to notice the community feels safe coming up with questions and comments to the community managers so openly; If things are wrong often and nothing happens in order to fix them even if the issue is taken to the right people, communities disengage and stop trying to change their surroundings for the better.
So how is it working here? It's functional, it's comfortable, it's nothing to write home about. There are some interesting solutions that manage to be both a great additional service and a mark on the con column. Take the exercise corner for example: Few places have such great gear for mid day exercise and it's beautiful to see a coworking space care about their community's ergonomics and health. But, it's placed right there next to the sofas and the breakfast set up, so you'll be doing squats next to people in suits writing emails.
A thing worth a mention is Restaurant Dylan Marmoripiha which shares a space with BC Papula's reception. Dylan is a fantastic restaurant for breakfast and lunch, though a bit pricey. With the BC Papula member discount the lunch buffet is 10,50 € but it is a buffet with plenty of options. You'll get your money's worth in a sense, but I doubt many can afford the price on daily basis.
Day Pass: 20 €
Coworking Flex: 150 €/kk
Coworking Fixed (with dedicated desk): 300 €/kk