“Level39 provides curated content every week. That means a ‘curriculum’ offered to all our members, where they can sit down with investors, mentors and advisors for one-on-one sessions which we organise.” Asif Faruque
Soft jazz soothes the space, and a choice selection of art softens the walls. I recognise a piece from Kurt Beers’ gallery, a mandala, upon closer inspection, one realises the complex geometry is entirely constructed from electrical components, transistors, capacitors, transformers.
Other artworks are similarly digitised. A framed print of a girl, in the style of 19th-century portraiture. Her eyes open and move as I approach. Sculptures, a glass sphere, within a triangle, within a cube. The three lit by LEDs, which change colour as I view from another side. I wonder if Kandinsky’s colour shape theory has been applied, or if the artists here are leaving the past in the past, and are rebuilding from a new foundation, to leave legacy, not behind, but in the future. A contemplative, innovative, high technology space, with the meditative energy of a dojo. Canary Wharf Group’s art curator is Keith Watson, a former gallery owner, and now procurer/curator of digital and kinetic art from all over the world to display at Level39. Where better to sculpt the very future of nance, banking, and change.
Level39 was formed in 2013, it is of course Level39 of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf. Its Head, Eric Van der Kleij, was the former CEO of Tech City UK, the Government backed organisation designed to bring tech to London. Seems to have worked. Story goes, after he finished at Tech City UK, he went to an event and met Sir George Iacobescu, the chairman of Canary Wharf Group, who said let’s bring tech to Canary Wharf, and Eric said sure.
From the windows of our viewing platform we look over at the other skyscrapers, units with units, vast machines for translating human activity into 0s and 1s, then back again. Extraordinary conceptualism, when one steps outside to contemplate.
In our role as journalists we nd ourselves in many a co-working environment, from the subterranean level of London Campus in Shoreditch, known as google campus to everyone in the scene, to Central Working next door, to the WeWorks popping up like so many hives. Each of these spaces have a different feel, a different vibe, reflective of their members.
Google campus is a chaotic cauldron, a reaction vessel, you can walk in with an idea and walk out with a team. But you’ll never scale in such a place, too volatile, too distracted, too much. Central Working spaces, each one a different energy, from calm to creative, more like an art school, here’s the painters, the sculptors are in another space, each to their own.
evel39 feels… strategic. Poised. Enabled. Serious.
For the space reflects the people, and the people are the companies, 1600 apply, 194 are here. Fintech is finance as technology.
And here, in the calm, above the city, much change is afoot.
[author title=”Asif Faruque” image=”http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/NEWASIF3.jpg”]Head of Content of Level39, meets, greets, and leads us to the members’ club restaurant.[/author]