Nowadays many freelancers choose co-working. The days spent working at home can be stressful. Especially when you’re tired and highly tempted to quit everything and run away, to a place where you can just relax and stop working for a while. That is, on holiday. In days like these, where you are stuck to your chair, it’s easy to get distracted. The phone rings, your mum calls. You feel guilty going out for lunch when you know you can cook and spare money. And so you stay home.
Loneliness can be worse than a crowd when you have to work. So coworking comes to our rescue. In Milan there are coffee shops where you can go and sit for hours, with your computer, free wifi and a cup of tea, working amongst other people while the city outside keeps running.
Upcycle Café in Milan
Located in a street not far from the train station, Upcycle is a coworking space and café which combines Nordic style with a certain New York atmosphere. It’s an open space with wooden tables, soft lights, and bicycles all around. Cookies, cakes, tea and coffee are served all day long, but in the evening the Scandinavian chef makes smorrebrod with smoked salmon, herring salad, lentils and millet balls, for those who want to have dinner and a beer. A glass wall separates the coffee shop from the large co-working space, where people can rent a desk and bring their computer and stuff. The atmosphere is relaxed, even though everyone is studying or working.
Pâtisserie des Rêves
In another part of Milan, near Università Cattolica, the city shows a different face. Less New York-ish, for sure. You really feel you’re in Europe when you walk in the streets connecting Saint Ambrose’s basilica to Sforzesco Castle. You might even think you’re in Paris. Elegant houses, hidden gardens, design shops, patisseries, luxury boutiques.
In corso Magenta, where all shops have already been adorned with Christmas lights, there’s a boutique called Pâtisserie des Rêves. Its pink and white window reminds of a doll house – very French indeed – but the interior is sober, chairs are comfortable and all the tables have a view on a lovely inner courtyard. I was very pleased to find out that they have Kusmi Tea, a historical French tea seller offering secret Russian blends such as Prince Vladimir, a vanilla & orange tea which tastes wonderfully. Sweets are French, too, from the buttery chocolate cookies to Proust’s madeleines; a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream takes you right to Paris, riding on dreams.
We leave Paris for a typically Italian atmosphere when we visit the streets around Via Savona, next to Porta Genova station. The abandoned factories which abounded in this area were converted into show rooms, design shops and fashionable restaurants, even though there’s still an “old Milan” feeling; it seems to be in the suburbs and yet we’re not far from the city center.
Among houses and offices there are still artisans’ shops and little shabby chic cafés, such as Ofelé, a quiet small place that has recently become quite popular. It feels like home in here, like we’re in an old kitchen where a cake is baking in the oven; teas are organic, served in striped mugs, and cookies are delicious. They also serve lunch and brunch, with bagels, salmon, or pancakes. You might recognize different influences, from vintage to shabby chic, from Scandinavian to American style. An old tin box for cookies,
It’s not easy to find the right place where to feel comfortable, at ease, and focused. Every café has its own soul and style, and everyone needs something different. But one thing is clear: in order to find the perfect place, we need to try them all.
COFFEE SHOPS & COWORKING
• Upcycle Café, via Ampère 59, Milano (Nordic food; brunch; free wifi)
• Pâtisserie des Rêves, corso Magenta 7, Milano (Kusmi tea, free wifi)
• Ofelé, via Savona 2, Milano (organic tea; brunch; free wifi)