In the urban center of Valencia, just a few minutes from the Old town, Rusaffa, and Eixample, you’ll find a coliving that harvests the energy of the city and turns it into an inspiring experience for its visitors.
Connecting people from all over the world, Vivarium invites all who want to be inspired and go on a self-exploration through art, music, culture, and vibrant city life.
Living in a centric flat right outside all the city’s cultural spots is an amazing opportunity to explore and grow, but getting an instant friend group that you can share that with, is even more rewarding.
Vibrant cities attract vibrant people, and Vivarium wants to provide a space for those people to share their stories and ideas and make meaningful connections while living in one of the most urban cities in Spain.
A special thanks to a talented ex-coliver Erica for sharing her awesome photos of her experience in Vivarium. Check her Instagram page to view more of her work
Interview sections Hide
How it all started
“Here’s what is exciting about sharing ideas with others: If you share a new idea with ten people, they get to hear it once and you get to hear it ten times.”
1. When and why did you decide to open a coliving space of your own?
– We decided to open Vivarium in May 2021.
After years of solving challenges in the corporate world, launching crazy projects, and exploring the never-ending path of personal growth, Mar and I met in Madrid at the hardest moments of the covid-19 pandemic and discovered we had similar “operating systems”.
Surprisingly, we were equally passionate about long dialogues, meaningful relationships, and experimentation. So, we decided to create a project together where we could start bringing our ideas (about business, art, technology, relationships, education…) to life, and invite others to join us in the adventure.
Our first experiment involved only the two of us. We moved from Madrid to a small village in the north of Spain, to live together while working remotely for a tech company. The experience changed us. We discovered that a new way of life was possible and that it brought better results to our work.
With that experience in mind, we decided to open a space where people from all over the world could come to live, work, learn and create. A living lab where people could feel at home and connect with others in a different way while materializing new projects and solving challenges.
2. Have you ever had the opportunity to stay in some other coliving space or any type of shared accommodation before you decided to open your own place?
– Yes, when we moved to Asturias, we stayed at the Rural Freehouse, a coliving/entrepreneurs house in Somiedo, a small village in the mountains.
3. Do you remember your beginnings and what was the most difficult for you when you started the coliving?
– The most difficult part, both being the founders and hosts, was to find our “place” in the house and the experience.
To find a balance between taking care of the colivers and at the same time of ourselves, learning to give and also to receive. To accept reality as it emerged and not as we have imagined, and work from there to learn, grow and improve the experience step by step.
4. Is there something that you wished you knew when you started with coliving?
– The importance of having not-too-many but strong ground rules.
5. Have you had the opportunity to visit other coliving places since you opened yours?
– No, we haven’t.
6. What is the story behind you choosing Spain as the location for opening your coliving space?
– We just followed the opportunities that were emerging for us. That being said, after traveling to many countries, I find Spain one of the best locations for remote workers. The culture, the weather, the entrepreneurial and artistic scene, the infrastructure, nature, etc.
It’s a great country to live “a good life” (connect with nature, enjoy culture, have a healthy lifestyle) and at the same time keep growing professionally and finding new opportunities.
“Share our similarities, celebrate our differences.“
-M. Scott Peck
7. What is the profile of people who are most likely to stay at your place?
– We like to say that here, you find people like you that are not like you. It’s difficult to make a profile of our colivers as they are so diverse.
Mainly they are either remote workers or people that are at a moment of personal/professional change and looking to create meaningful connections and enjoy all the good things of Valencia.
8. What is the average age of people who are visiting your accommodation?
– Around 30 years old. The youngest was 25, and the oldest was 56.
9. How long do people usually stay at your place?
– Between 1 and 6 months.
10. Do your visitors have the tendency to return back to your place?
– We opened recently so we only had two people that returned to Vivarium. However, many colivers decided to extend their stay while being here.
11. Is there some trend where people from specific countries come to your place?
– No, people come from very diverse countries.
Usually, we have one or two colivers from Spain, and the rest are from every corner of the world.
12. What additional activities are included for people who stay at your coliving?
– We have an organic approach to community building, so every week can be different and we don’t have a fixed set of activities included.
However, we like to keep some rituals, like our weekly family dinners or Tuesday’s wine&learn (skillshares).
Apart from that, it is very common that either the colivers or we as hosts propose to have a lunch/dinner together in the city, a day trip to nature, a concert, an expo…
13. Do you have some special offers for startups and group bookings?
– No, we only offer special prices to couples or long-term bookings.
About the Coliving Movement
”The need for connection and community is primal, as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food.”
14. Do you think that coliving is only dedicated to a specific group of people such as freelancers, digital nomads, and startups, or do you think there is a possibility to gain popularity beyond that group of people?
– I think it is possible. These profiles, as I see it, are the early adopters, as they are the ones that feel most pressingly the needs that coliving solves (bonding/community, flexibility, continuous learning, etc.)
I believe it will gain popularity with other collectives, people, for example, that are looking for a coliving experience long term in their own city and so on.
However, to appeal to other groups, probably the offering will need to evolve and adapt to the particular needs of these groups.
15. Do you think that coliving cannot exist without coworking?
– It can exist without coworking. In my opinion, coliving is about the experience of living in a community. It doesn’t necessarily need to be linked to work.
16. One of the main selling points for coliving is the possibility to meet new people, share experiences and maybe even develop new partnerships. Is that really the situation?
– From our experience, the first two happen frequently and naturally, but the third one is more challenging. It is never easy to find partners for a project and it doesn’t happen automatically by just being in a coliving space.
Here you might find more “density” of talent, people with complementary skills, or at a personal/professional moment ideal for these partnerships, but it’s still difficult to create trust and commitment for a partnership.
We are still trying to figure out how to facilitate this.
17. Do you have some examples where people who had the opportunity to meet at your place later managed to develop successful partnerships or relationships?
– Yes, some of our colivers have kept in touch, met in other cities/countries, and explored the possibility of creating businesses together…
We always feel very happy when they send us pictures together some months after leaving Vivarium or when they thank us for the connections they made here.
Secure yourself the best coliving experience
- italki – Why not learn some Spanish before your trip and make your coliving even better? italki is the perfect platform for that! You will find more than 3500 native speakers waiting to help you with your Spanish.
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