“Starbucks taught us that people like working with a little bit of noise and around people,” Rabih Helou declares as he takes a swig from his coffee. “The way people work”  is what Beauty Shoppe cofounders Helou and Matthew Ciccone are obsessed with.

Three years ago, Ciccone and Helou successfully launched The Beauty Shoppe and then expanded the space to three floors of the Liberty Bank Building on Penn Ave. The spaces are filled with freelancers, entrepreneurs and creatives who work in a diverse range of fields. Observing the way people interact in the spaces, Ciccone and Helou are continually thinking of ways to optimize space in response to how people truly work.

As a result, they just launched their new coworking space, Cube. Located a few blocks from The Beauty Shoppe, Cube is on the second floor of 5877 Commerce St. in East Liberty and offers a little over 10,000 feet of workspace.

Helou says there was a need for a diversity of spaces. “One of the failures is that there is only loud space. But people also want quiet space.” And some people want both.

Ciccone and Helou took over the space after the landlord had unsuccessfully tried to find renters. The pair applied the same features that The Beauty Shoppe brand is known for—beautiful design and turnkey amenities—and quickly leased 50% of the space.

“Space as a service” rather than an investment is what makes coworking spaces attractive. Cube expands the typical coworking space model to incorporate some benefits of traditional office spaces—namely privacy—and allows Beauty Shoppe members who outgrow their current space to stay within their network.

“It’s a perfect fit for people who have been at The Beauty Shoppe but are growing out of the space we have over there,” says Helou.

Cube has 20 private office spaces that can accommodate companies with as many as 15 employees. It also has a flexible shared space, a shared lounge area and space for private events. Even a meditation room is in the plans.

“Silicon Valley taught us that collisions (as facilitated by open spaces) stimulate collaboration and creativity,” says Helou. But while this is true, it doesn’t hold all the time. Downtime is also a necessity. “With Cube, we are moving away from the worship of openness to an appreciation of diversity. Our spaces need to reflect the diversity of people, personalities and companies in the space.”

Leah Lizarondo

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment....