For a bit less than a year, we have entered a new network called ECHN (European Creative Hub Network), an organization gathering creative spaces from all over Europe.
And the least we can say after joining a few of their programs, is that we are truly impressed by the quality of each event and the level of expertise of its members and spaces.
In March 2023, we have got the chance to be part of a « Rural Hacking » workshop, organized in beautiful Galicia, by our dear friends from Anceu Coliving. With another 15 creative hub (Colivings, Coworkings, maker and art spaces), we’ve learned a lot on how to have an impact and make a difference in rural areas, through community projects and social spaces.
In June 2023, we have been to Timisoara (the European capital of culture for 2023), for a network gathering at FABER Space. This amazing creative space, a former communist factory, shared precious insights about its organization (coworking, cafe, art gallery and event venue) and we joined there several workshops, talks and socializing events.
In November 2023, we went to Vienna, for the yearly General Assembly of ECHN and Creative Skilled Week. This was another opportunity to attend several conferences, workshops and to exchange with the network's members.
This end of January, we’ve participated to another ECHN program, the peer to peer, which consists in an exchange with another hub from the network. We have been visiting for 5 days Destil Creative hub, located in the city center of Tirana (Albania). We identified Destil a few month ago through ECHN, as having a lot of common with our space. We are both having a cafe and event venue as one of our main ingredients. We both run artistic events and programs. And we are also both running a coworking space and renting out rooms (they have a B&B and we have a Coliving space).
Our project in Bucharest is reaching some kind of maturity and we feel that the time has come to try new things, add new elements to it and just spice things up!
Being able to get from Destil’s team a new perspective over the industry has been extremely valuable. Especially since they have managed to grow substantially over the years and have moved 3 years ago from an old house to a 4 stories building in the city center of Tirana. They have a team of around 30 people and have developed different activities, that both work together and separately : cafe & bistro, event space, B&B, coworking space and art gallery Bulevard.
The main goal of this exchange was to mutually inspire and empower each other’s community. But also to discuss business models and how to grow sustainable creative spaces.
We have arrived in Tirana on February 2nd and we started the exchange with a full visit of Destil, where we also met and exchange with the entire team. We have been honestly impressed by how well designed and organized the space is.
On our second day, we’ve held a public event, in their dedicated space, where we presented to their community our activities in Bucharest, with a focus on the specialty coffee trend. Bucharest coffee scene grew organically over the years, to reach an impressive level of development today, with about 150 specialty coffee shops in town and around 10 different coffee roasters. We finished that presentation with a coffee tasting, where we introduced different coffee from our roaster : Madison coffee Bucharest. We explained the differences between a traditional Italian burnt coffee and the complex flavors of a specialty coffee cup. The event was a success, since the place was full and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback and enthusiasm around.
Another important event that happened during this exchange, was a closed workshop between Vine 21 and Destil team. We shared openly about our models and communities, but also about our fears and motivations. It was striking to see how similar our daily struggles are. Creative spaces are in general facing the same challenges, the main one often being their financial survival.
On the following days, we visited other creative spaces and art galleries in Tirana, which is definitely a vibrant city, moving and reinventing itself at a crazy pace.
We left Tirana with new perspective on things, fresh energy and a bunch of new ideas!
We established a new valuable connection with Destil Creative hub, with whom we hope we’ll build in time a lasting alliance. We definitely recommend you to pay them a visit, on your next visit to Tirana, for a drink or a bite, a cultural event, or a stay at their coworking or BnB.
We want to give a special thanks to Era, for being the perfect host and organizer. To Sonila, for her warm welcome in her space. And to the rest of the Destil team, for the talks, laughs, and general openness. Last but not least, thanks to ECHN and the European Union for allowing us to be part and to grow with this beautiful network!