How The Reef might work in Brussels



Space manager; bunk room?

Thanks for the ping, @Noemi Note that my co-housing experience is quite different from this. But I like the idea. One cautionary note would be that personally I would think it safer to have the space managed part time (0.5?) in return for a free rental. That way, there would be no employer obligations to worry about. Maybe to allow for flexibility, give the manager a cut on booking revenue, rather than a salary.

To me, the less money changing hands, the better.

Where I live we don’t have any cheap accommodation, and that’s a drawback for events. Yes, rooms for residents, but for very short-term visitors, how about a bunk room with say 6 beds?


A flexible arrangement makes sense to me

I like the idea of 6 bunk beds. The easier it makes it for groups and organisations to organise events, the better. 6 beds would probably be enough for the organisers to cut their own cost of travel. Also, for an increasing number of organisations, the only costs covered for participation in events is accomodations… so all other costs, including those of organising the events, could be folded into the accommodation rentals. Am trying to figure this out in the form of possible membership and pricing models here.


… with measure, to respect the space of permanent residents

In fact, FOAM already has the bunk beds (not sure if they are four or six though).

The precise arrangement depends on the precise layout of the space. In general, The Reef needs to prioritize the well-being of permanent residents, who are its engine and soul. So, overcrowding of the space needs to be meted out with care, in order for them (us, since I plan to be a permanent resident myself) to feel comfortable in their home. It’s still possible though: we all have had friends and family camped out on couches and inflatable mattresses.


Fine line

I also think bunk beds are a good idea, but those work for short, AirBnb style rentals more than medium term.

Ideally you’d have a range of options but that also means more overhead. Next thing you know we’ll be running a very crowded hotel, which is not the idea. It will be interesting to see how we fine tune this, because it’s hard to say now what would work best for most people joining. If there’s enough room for modularity and repurposing of spaces than that’s a major win imho.


short term, yes

Sure, short term for bunk accommodation – I was thinking of a two-day meeting or conference – a few days at maximum.


On the other hand…

…, @asimong , some money changing hands is a stronger guarantee that the space manager will stay aligned with us. At least in the short run. Remember, there is no book to do this by yet.

The cultural risk for The Reef is mission drift. If people interpret it as a squat, hic manebimus optime, we are going to waste time and energy in stupid low-level conflict. The space needs to be clearly seen as a mean to an end. The end is doing effective, relevant, fun stuff in a financially sustainable way (“the work”).


For the record: The FOAM space discussed here was rented out by the landlord to others, before we had a chance to decide we want it. The discussion above on how such a space could be managed is still relevant of course.


هذا ماكنت افكر به في القرية المفتوحة في الاردن ولاكن انا قمة باضافة المقهى والبار والمطعم. وغرف النوم للضيوف ومساحات لاقامات الحفلات والندوات وورش العمل …الاثاث سوف يكون مصنوع ليكون نقله سهل حيث ان المطعم ممكن ان يتحول الى مسرح او الى قاعات الاجتماع او مكان للاعمال فقط عليك بتحريك قطع الاثاث وترتيبها بشكل فني مدروس

This is what I was thinking about in the open village in Jordan, but I am the top with the addition of the cafe, the bar and the restaurant. Guest bedrooms, meeting spaces, seminars and workshops. The furniture will be made to be easy to transport as the restaurant can be converted into a theater or meeting rooms or a place of business only you move the pieces of furniture and arranged in a thoughtful technical


@amer the café / restaurant makes a ton of sense. Ideally we will find a space that allows for it, but then we would need a partner who has the expertise to run it! If we do not find both (space and partner) we will settle for a café - less solution.


This is possible here. It is possible to make it a shared kitchen. There is one day a week for a group dinner with the post-dinner dialogue and discussions
My friend needed some papers printed with the slogan “Edgryders” to write on them to address the concerned authorities in my license to discuss possible send me these papers

هذا ممكن هنا ممكن جعله مطبخ مشترك هو يكون هناك يوم واحد في الاسبوع لعمل عشاء جماعي يتخلله الحوار مابعد العشاء والنقاشات


Uhm… I don’t understand. I was talking about partnering with a restorateur _in Brussels _, for the Brussels space!


It is natural that there is a partnership in the Brueto Brussels, what can you offer me from support for the open village projects in Jordan


Me? Nothing much. I hope to be making some spreadsheets for business planning for this type of space (would fit ours, but also yours) during the Open Village Festival. But my colleagues are mounting a sort of residency, that maybe you will find useful. It has not been announced yet, but it’s coming soon.


Thank you Alberto We will set up the data sheet soon for the project, but I could not attend the festival. I see it successful in a franchise. We hope to look forward to the statement of the festival and expect to see you in Morocco or maybe here in Jordan.

شكرا لك ألبرتو سنقوم بإعداد ورقة البيانات قريبا للمشروع، ولكن لم أستطع حضور المهرجان. أرى أنها ناجحة في امتياز. نأمل أن نتطلع إلى بيان المهرجان ونتوقع أن نراكم في المغرب أو ربما هنا في الأردن.


Great idea, really love the direction you are taking it.

Few things I could add is: heating expenses can go very high very fast, depending of area, construction quality,heating pipe installation outlay and buildings you share walls with (if there are such). Really hard to predict now theoretically, ideally you would consider all those things :).

Also if you are taking a part time office manager, ideally you could offer the person a place to stay and reduce the salary by X the person would pay as rent anyways, decent tax savings at the end of the year.

The idea for a café/restaurant is great (if you want to serve food you prepare it complicates things greatly though so to be considered, I would opt for a café to start with or outsource the food preparation, sushi or a lot of vegetarian dishes/raw dishes can be easily stored for a day or two). There is a big amount of board game events organised in Brussels for example (and it’s a growing market) so things like that can be integrated in a café offer, all you need are tables :).

Also, considering I am paying now more than 1000 euros monthly just for apartment+internet+water/elec/heating, your concept is very interesting for me :).


I just realised this is a rather old post haha, so what happened with the reef? :smiley:


We got turned down with that space, but…


I read your thoughts on it, very interesting ideas but I will need more time to read everything and think about ways to contribute. Busy days now but I am very interested and will write in that thread


You do that, @jasen_lakic. A new phase is starting soon, so it’s a great time to get involved. But beware: this is shaping up like a new business in its own right. Not for the faint of heart. But then, I know you are not. :slight_smile:


Regarding a cafe or restaurant: I know Maria has experience running a bar, which is very valuable. I would also find others with real experience in the food service business before going too far with the idea. So many fail because, I think, they either did not plan well enough, or just don’t understand the business and its tight margins and sometimes overwhelming task loads.