Read more blog posts about the coliving industry and its key actors on the Co-Liv blog! Check it out — happy reading.

Meet Kelsea Crawford — Co-Liv Ambassador for France

Co-founder of architecture and design studio — Cutwork, Kelsea drives to participate in and build communities, to bring people together from different backgrounds, with different ideas and different perspectives.

How do you currently define yourself, and what drives you?

My name is Kelsea, and I am passionate about sharing, cultivating space and beauty in the everyday, and making things with my hands.

I founded Cutwork, an architecture and design studio, together with architect Antonin Yuji Maeno in 2016. We decided to focus on the ever wider gap between the ways we live and work today versus the way our habitats are currently being built.

The built environment continues to reflect handed-down models and traditional ideas about work, home, and relationships that are losing relevance in our modern society. We’ve increasingly shifted to live in more blended communities or ‘chosen families’ — yet, the majority of investors, real estate developers, and architects continue to build spaces and homes for traditional family structures.

My personal ambition is to use architecture and design to help create containers for human connection and experience. My mission is to use my work to foster connections and help cultivate a deeper sense of presence and intentionality.

What drives me is participating in and building communities, and bringing people together from different parts of the world with different backgrounds, different ideas and different perspectives.

What makes you passionate about coliving, and why are you actively promoting the coliving scene?

At its best, coliving can be a way that we can learn what it means to be human. It provides an ideal container to practise supporting each other, to grow and learn from each other, to nurture and heal each other, and from there can help us to move through life in a more connected, fulfilled way.

For me, the coliving movement is exciting because it’s one of the first expressions of rethinking today’s living in an intentional way — shifting our habits and habitats to become more emotionally, economically, and materially sustainable.

My first intentional coliving experience was at Experience House in Guatemala. After that experience, I realised there was a huge difference between the commercially developed, large-scale coliving operations (that are in fact just a new form of a hospitality business) and projects that connects people as one of their core principles.

What are your visions and thoughts on the future of coliving for the year to come?

Modern apartment blocks of the 20th century helped build cities of closed doors, gated perspectives, and increasingly exclusive communities.

Shared architecture and coliving have the potential to unlock these gates and create more open, inclusive urban environments that encourage interaction. They have the potential, beyond aesthetics or traditional functions, to propose new ways of sharing and living in our cities, in which more accessible public spaces are created, where international lifestyles and local cultures can relate and thrive together.

Within the industry, it’s becoming clear that coliving is more resilient and sustainable when it establishes inclusive communities and supports a flexible range of activities. Blended-use developments are looking like an inevitability; I predict they will gradually become a golden standard for the industry.

The rise of work-from-anywhere is opening some exciting opportunities for rural coliving. If we can maintain intimate relationships and economic activity from remote distances, and if cities continue becoming less and less affordable, a shift to decentralized rural living may make unavoidable economic and social sense — just like the rise of the shared economy does today.

In general, I believe coliving will continue to develop as a social movement and an asset class, and that this typology of housing will become much more widespread in the years to come.

You joined Co-Liv as “France Ambassador” — which opportunities do you want to create for the country you represent, the organization, its members, and the coliving industry?

Right now we’re hosting monthly events for the French Coliving community. The events are designed around two key ideas: 1) have incredible guest speakers share and discuss insights into important topics, and 2) foster the community and create easy opportunities for people to connect with each other and expand their networks.

These points are foundational to us, but we are starting to think about other ways to help draw connections and insights from across the whole Co-Liv community, such as organizing quarterly Ambassador-lead events for wider international audiences.

Thank you for being part of this movement! How can people reach out, and what can you mostly help them with?

We’re specialized in architectural concepts, interior design, prefab design & manufacturing, bespoke furniture, FF&E, feasibility studies, and graphic brand identity.

In short, we can intervene at multiple stages of a project’s development to lend our expertise and help shape the space to fit the specific need of its inhabitants.

To help give a clearer understanding, some of our recent clients and projects have included:

  • Station F : Flatmates, the first large-scale coliving space in France, including a full interior concept and delivering over 5,000 pieces of custom furniture
  • Bouygues Immobilier : full interior concept and prefab manufacturing to launch their new coliving brand with 25+ sites in the pipeline
  • Sharies : concept to expand Paris locations with F&B and coworking space)
  • Nexity : study on transforming traditional offices into shared residential spaces)

We’re working with pioneering companies to reimagine how space can be shared to establish more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable ecosystems.

If you share this vision, we’d love to connect and build something together :)

kelsea@cutworkstudio.com

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Co-Liv is the global association of coliving professionals, guiding and empowering the coliving industry.🏡 (www.co-liv.org)