Coworking company NeueHouse and the international photography museum Fotografiska have joined forces in an attempt to overcome the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that have rocked both industries.
NeueHouse is a company that provides collaborative workspaces, event spaces, and cultural services while Fotografiska is a Sweden-based photography museum, the largest of its kind in the world.
According to the two organizations, the merger of NeueHouse and Fotografiska was discussed just prior to the onset of the pandemic in February of 2020, but faced with both industries suffering greatly due to shelter at home orders and laws preventing large gatherings, the two decided that pivoting each of their business models and joining forces was the only way to stay afloat.
Both Fotografiska and NeueHouse organizations recognize and have established brand equity at the intersection of the arts, culture, hospitality, design, and entertainment. This acclaim has been cultivated through their influential membership-driven communities, programming, content, events, and elevated hospitality offerings. During the past year, NeueHouse has steadily expanded their footprint and network, having recently partnered with like-minded hospitality brands (including Casa Tua, who will be a NeueHouse partner in its new Miami location) to offer exclusive benefits to their members through a recently launched members-only app.
CultureWorks, the new parent company for both NeueHouse and Fotografiska, has a vision of “creating the preeminent global growth platform for culture, experience, and hospitality brands.”
Last year, museums and cultural institutions the world over cut jobs and sold parts of collections in attempts to stay afloat, and both Fotografiska and NeueHouse decided that their combined 10,000 members who already pay to access spaces, events, and experiences would appreciate the combination of the two brands.
Following the very recent openings of Fotografiska New York in December 2019 and NeueHouse Bradbury in Downtown LA in February 2020, this new deal is timed to NeueHouse’s continued expansion into Venice Beach, CA, Miami, FL, and its first European location at the original Fotografiska Stockholm all in 2021. Fotografiska will also open a new museum outpost in Berlin in 2022.
In an interview with FastCompany, Fotografika’s chairman and majority owner of CultureWorks Yoram Roth says that though the idea of fancy coworking spaces and museums doesn’t sound like a cure for what ails to two businesses in the midst of a pandemic, once the world emerges, what is on offer will be a place to gather and build communities.
“The secret sauce, in my mind, is community. You can have all the culture in the world, but you have to resonate with the people you’re doing it with,” he says.
Only time will truly tell if this merger will pay off, but an additional $35 million investment raised by Roth (at a valuation of $165 million for all of CultureWorks) seems to indicate that the two organizations are not the only ones who believe this partnership has legs.