Co-living for boomers – or why the senior cohousing market is bound to boom

If co-living appeals to Generation Y, why wouldn't it appeal to senior citizens who grant just as much importance to a sociable lifestyle as millennials do?

The success of co-living is built on gradients of publicness. From private, through semi-private and semi-public, all the way to public, co-living complexes strike a balance between individual and communal spaces.

It comes as no surprise that this community-driven concept appeals to millennials who seek a more sociable lifestyle. But co-living complexes like WeLive or The Collective aren't just for Generation Y –  they could also be fit for the baby boomers, according to architect and Architizer co-founder Matthias Hollwich.

I believe we have to start a whole new attitude to how we treat society in relationship to ageing

The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050 and for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over will outnumber children aged five and under. So why are we not catering to a generation with interests, much like those of millennials, that revolve around a genuine sense of community, experiences and safety?

Communal dining at WeLive New Yok
WeLive communal dining in New York. Photo by Lauren Kallen/WeWork

Cohousing for older people is now a well-established concept in its countries of origin, i.e. Denmark and The Netherlands, where the seemingly contradictory ‘Living together on one’s own’ maxim of the Dutch National Association of Housing Communities for Elderly People (LVGO) seems to capture the essence of co-living perfectly.

Usually purpose-built, cohousing complexes consist of private homes with shared facilities and according to the UK Cohousing Network, there are 200 senior cohousing schemes in the Netherlands alone.

Coliving residence for the elderly
BOOM Costa del Sol: retirement community featuring 115 boutique homes

The cohousing phenomenon is now spreading across the rest of Europe, with developments such as BOOM Costa del Sol sitting on a dramatic hillside 45km outside of Malaga, Spain.

BOOM is a retirement community that features 72 homes, 24 lofts, and 38 apartments, each designed by a different world renowned architect. The pedestrian-friendly masterplan is the brainchild of BOOM design coordinator Matthias Hollwich of HWKN and was co-developed by Seram Estates, S.L.

Cohousing community in the UK
UK's first over 50s co-living complex in High Barnet, North London

The first one to successfully import the 'cohousing for the elderly' model to the UK is Pollard Thomas Edwards who recently completed the UK's first over 50s coliving development. Older Women's Co-Housing (OWCH) is a women-only complex that offers its residents the chance to live independently while still living in a shared community.

The scheme is mostly owner-occupied although one third consists of social housing. The women share a common house with a meeting room, kitchen and dining areas, and every flat has access to the shared garden and craft shed, to be maintained by residents themselves.

WeLive in New York
Apartment in WeLive, 110 Wall Street, New York

The growing number of senior cohousing developments is nothing but proof that the older generation displays the same youthful enthusiasm for community that millennials do.

Boomers do not want to grow old in the same ageing institutions their parents did. They want innovation and perhaps it is time developers tapped into the senior cohousing market, bound to boom in the near future.

Art works: spotlight on Deustche Bank’s corporate art collection

With nearly 60,000 artworks spread across 40 countries and 900 offices, Deutsche Bank's Art Works is the biggest collection of corporate art in the world.

The German investment bank's global art program was launched in the late 1970s and has since become an integral part of Deutsche Bank's values.

The bank's 'Art Works' collection includes works on paper, photographs, canvases, sculptures and video installations displayed in several bank offices. In addition, Deutsche Bank also enables access to contemporary art in five permanent exhibition spaces in Frankfurt, London, New York, Tokyo and Milan, each with its own philosophy.

But what is the driving force behind this artistic enterprise? Why are Deutsche Bank and other industry titans like J.P. Morgan or UBS (according to a 2016 Forbes magazine article, the UBS art collection amounts to 35,000 works) putting such an emphasis on corporate art?

Cashflow installation in Deutsche Bank
Cashflow by Olaf Metzel, Deutsche Bank Collection in Frankfurt. Image courtesy of Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank said it: Art works. Art fosters innovation. Art is an intellectual asset which has a positive influence on employees. Art sparks conversations and promotes critical thinking. Art helps support local and emerging artists.

When located in high-traffic common areas like lift lobbies and reception areas, art can also convey a message and give businesses a competitive advantage. It can impress customers and boost sales all the while bringing something new to the table.

Deutsche Bank even has an interactive app which gives employees more information about the works they are looking as well as an “Arthothek”, a place where people can seek expert advice on choosing artwork for the workplace. The bank also hosts talks by artists and curates an online contemporary art magazine, ArtMag.

floral wallpaper inside Deutsche Bank in Taipei
Michael Lin, Untitled, 2010. Deutsche Bank Collection. © Michael Lin/Eslite Gallery, Taipei 2010

To further support the art economy and promote contemporary artists, Deutsche Bank also elects an "Artist of the Year". The award is given on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council which consists of renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn.

This year, South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank's new "Artist of the Year" 2017. He will present his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin in spring 2017.

Kemang Wa Lehulere Artist of the year 2017
Kemang Wa Lehulere, Deutsche Bank 

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, corporate art makes sounds business sense too. To quote Alex Heath, managing director at International Art Consultants:

“A momentary distraction is definitely not a bad thing in the workplace. Art has historically always been about escape, and we all need is an escape sometimes.”

12 harmonics in deutsche bank reception
12 Harmonics by Keith Tyson in Deutsche Bank London. Photograph: Deutsche Bank
conceptual art at work
The Gates, Project for Central Park, NYC, 2003 by Christo. All works Deutsche Bank Collection.
Collection of artwork inside Deutsche Bank
Shirakami #1, #3, #5, #7, 2008 by Tokihiro Sato. All works Deutsche Bank Collection
Deutsche Bank London reception art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst
Art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst in Deutsche Bank London's reception area. Deutsche Bank