LACS has recently expanded to Cascais and although it is actually a workplace, LACS Cascais is far from being the typical office.
As we enter the two-story building, almost completely covered in glass, we are welcomed by one of the weekend’s latest hits. Just across the hall from the main lobby a door leads us to a small garden. Before going outside, a ramp – that will one day display paintings in a kind of art gallery – connects the first and second floors. We are not that far from Guincho beach (3.4 km), Cabo da Roca (11.3 km), or the highway to and from Lisbon (100 m). We are right where we want to be.
The squad of four creatives
As we near the entrance of the building, we hear a rolling sound. A few left and right swings and a LACS Cascais member, Nuno Quartin, enters the bar on his skateboard. “This is not usual”, he tells us. “[But here] people are cool with me riding my skateboard around.”
He has always been passionate about extreme sports and music. In front of a framed Radiohead poster hanging in his office, Nuno proudly reveals that he used to be part of the Portuguese band Toranja, who won a Gold Record. Fast-forward 15 years and Nuno is now a graphic designer at Roda, a career that he happily decided to pursue full-time leaving aside the hardships of the music industry.
Roda is a recent project that took off when he moved to LACS Cascais. “For six months it looked like someone had jinxed me. I was not making any money and I hit rock bottom. But since I set up at LACS things have been picking up really nicely.”
The move was suggested by one of his business partners. Nuno admits that at first he was a little suspicious of the effectiveness of networking, but now he has truly embraced the concept. “Networking actually works”, he says. As a matter of fact, Roda has already found two clients within the LACS Cascais community, with more potential partnerships with other LACS Cascais members lining up. Nuno and his partners at Roda are now considering hiring two more people to join the current squad of four creatives.
Next to Roda’s studio we find Joana Trigoso. “My next-door neighbours,” as she calls them. We quickly find that Nuno and Joana have a few things in common: Joana also loves sports. She has played golf since she was 10 and has always worked closely with the sport, being today the only Portuguese representative of the European Tour, the body that regulates European professional golf. “I have the best of both worlds,” she says, “not only do I work for the best company in the golf industry, but I also do it from Portugal.”
She used to work from home but the move to a shared office space has helped her gain discipline and taught her to leave work at work. After moving to Cascais, she joined two different coworking spaces but didn’t like any of them all that much. “As soon as I heard LACS Cascais was opening, I visited the place.” For Joana, the facilities, decoration, and networking opportunities are the biggest strengths of LACS Cascais. “There’s nothing in here that I don’t like,” she says. “People here have the same mindset: they’re highly focused, but young and involved in fun projects.” Her employers have applauded the move.
A project in the making
We overhear business conversations while we’re walking down the hall. A few steps from where Nuno and Joana work, we meet Filipa Almeida. And the first thing we find about her is that she is an entrepreneur, head of Nanny Agency Portugal and Owl.
Filipa decided to join LACS Cascais mainly because of its surroundings. “When we first came here we fell in love with the place. It has so much light and green areas around.” But the inside is also great: “When our clients visit us, they love it here.” She says that some have even showed interest in moving there.
Filipa launched Nanny Agency Portugal and Owl out of need. “Ten years ago I needed a nanny for my daughter. [Now] I don’t want my daughter to eat unhealthy food, so I cook for her every morning, realising that there is no one preparing healthy lunches and delivering them right to schools?” Soon enough she joined her friend Tamara and created Owl, a company whose main goal is doing just that: cooking and delivering fresh, organic food.
Owl is a project in the making for now. The idea is that it will both focus on baby food (through ‘Owl Organic With Love’) and kids food (through ‘Owl Organic Lunch Boxes’). Although they are still working on the finishing touches of the project, as off September 2019 parents will be able to subscribe to a meal plan for their kids, with Owl and get daily lunch boxes “with children’s name tag on them and the class they’re in.”
The perfect creative cluster
Good things don’t last forever, so we say goodbye to LACS Cascais for now. As we leave, music is still coming out of the TV near the bar. The sun is shining bright. There are probably many Skype calls and imaginative brainstorms occurring inside. And we bet that Nuno is still riding his skateboard somewhere. Is this the perfect creative cluster or what?