DETROIT (WWJ) — Is it a high-tech drop-in workspace in the heart of downtown Detroit’s growing tech corridor? Or is it an office furniture dealership?


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Airea Studio — a new tenant in 2,500 square feet of retail space just off the huge open lobby of One Campus Martius, home of Compuware Corp. and Quicken Loans — wants you to stop in. Sit in one of the office environments. Open up that laptop or fire up that tablet or smartphone, and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi to kill some email. Heck, even work for an hour or three, if you like.

And if you want to rent out the space for a business function, well, they can work that out, too. The space features a lounge with comfy furniture, workspace tables, and a conference room and classroom that can seat 20 for a board meeting or 40 for a class.

Airea is a commercial furniture dealership in Farmington Hills that is owned by former Detroit Piston Vinnie Johnson. It sells primarily Haworth office furniture from Holland’s Haworth Co., but also carries the office products of more than 300 other vendors.

Airea opened the studio to be what its director, Amy J. Bos, said is “a business development and product exposure incubator. The business development part is for us to use it to meet as many people as we can through exposing our products to a business clientele. It’s completely open, free, for people doing business downtown. We want business people hanging out here.”

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The studio’s very different spaces — some that look like a traditional workplace, some like a college dorm lounge, some a combination, 11 different environments in all — reflect the fact that “the workspace is changing,” Bos said. “The cubicle really bugs some people. Some people need that privacy, but there are a lot of people who need to have things more open and have conversations with people on a regular basis.”

The space also has nifty tech touches provided by Brighton-based SVT, like an 80-inch touch screen HDTV, a 75-inch HDTV, a 55-inch mobile display, and full sound, AV and presentation systems. Cool environmental touches include wood on the walls that is salvaged from abandoned houses in Detroit by a local social enterprise called Reclaim Detroit.

The studio is working with New York City-based Shaw Contract Group for its floor coverings, Detroit Wallpaper Co. for its wall coverings, including a big silhouette of the city’s skyline in the board room, and Rok Construction Services of Detroit for construction services. Bos said the plan is to refresh the technology and furniture in the studio about twice a year — that the companies involved want the space “constantly evolving” to show off their latest and greatest.

For more information on renting the space, email An online reservation system will go up soon, Bos said.

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