Copenhagen-based startup LifeX brings serviced co-living to cities across Europe with an inclusive sense of Nordic style curated by HAY.

By Christian Brorsen

Millennials are seeking new and more flexible ways to live when relocating to a new city. They also aspire to become part of the community in their newfound neighbourhoods. At a time when young professionals see the whole world as their workplace and increasingly travel or move in search of the most interesting job opportunities, new housing requirements are arising that are not naturally met by existing home rental agencies or housing schemes.

When Ritu Jain and her partner Sune Theodorsen moved to Copenhagen in 2016 they saw a new and untapped opportunity. With investment help from Founders A/S they developed a tech platform called LifeX that reaches out to major cities across Europe, including Berlin, Paris, Munich and Vienna, where young professionals settle to work. LifeX connects owners of apartments or properties with tenants seeking to become part of a co-living community.

In addition, LifeX provides real estate operations in conjunction with professional property managers, runs the administration, offers housekeeping and assists new arrivals with the essentials of moving to a new city. In the wider perspective, there are few limits to potential services or the business growth of their co-living enterprise.

LifeX co-living tenants are typically young expats, just like the founders of LifeX themselves. When Ritu Jain was offered an attractive job in Copenhagen, she had no idea what a challenge it would be to find housing. In her own words:

“I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as easy as I had expected. First and foremost, my partner and I needed to find a home, a flexible setting where we could feel comfortable while exploring this new city. Most millennials, like ourselves, don’t need to own a place or accumulate physical things to make a home. We just need a place where we can belong in a new land without having to make permanent commitments. In our case, we needed some flexibility so we could figure out if we wanted to make this our long-term base.

“The challenge is that the standard housing model today doesn’t accommodate for the needs of a mobile population. Corporate housing used to fill that gap, but only for the top executives travelling with large corporations. The only options most people have is to either sign long-term leases with large deposits or attempt to buy something in a city you hardly know.

On top of that, all the up-front costs around furnishings and the time it takes to get set up is not something we want to prioritise anymore. A hotel or Airbnb can be a stop-gap measure for a few weeks, but then what?

“What we realised is that moving doesn’t have to be this stressful. There should be easier options to move to a country, have flexible housing and a launch pad to kick-start a new life. We millennials want the flexibility of creating a home wherever we want and the ability to move to another home if we wish to do so.

“LifeX is challenging the way we think about living by providing a modern co-living – essentially a landing pad in a new city which is flexible, all-inclusive and provides a community on arrival. We offer assistance with work permits and visa processing and take care of all the practical things like opening a bank account and everything in between. Our goal is to take away the stress of transition and provide our members with a happy first experience in a new city. We love the hygge and Sunday dinners together, and spend time connecting with people offline.”

NORDIC DESIGN

A very important element of LifeX co-living is the furnishing of the apartments, both in the private bedrooms and common areas. From the very outset, Danish hygge and design have guided the interior design of LifeX apartments, which is why it only seemed natural to partner with HAY, a Danish design company that brings the best of Nordic design to an international audience.

All LifeX co-living apartments are therefore appointed with sleek and pared-back HAY design. For Rolf Hay, founder of the HAY company, LifeX is not just another project, but an idea that points to the future and can help solve the challenges of globalisation and urbanisation. Rolf Hay says about LifeX:

“For me, LifeX deals with one of the most salient issues in our time, which is the importance of sharing. Urban life has become incredibly challenged by the fact that everyone wants to live in the same place. Cities are expanding, everyone is moving there, and we simply don’t have enough living space. This, of course, drives real-estate prices sky high, which furthers the problem. What LifeX offers is a way of bypassing this.

“And then, of course, maybe just as important is the sense of belonging that the project provides, for newcomers who arrive in a city for a new job or a new opportunity and don’t have a network. I think many people, when they come to Copenhagen and meet the Danes, find us friendly on the surface, but it’s very difficult to get closer.

That’s why it’s really cool when you can arrive to an environment that is more than just an apartment but a community with people in the same situation as you. LifeX offers the opportunity to become a part of a community.

“If you look back through history, I think the core values of Scandinavian design were strongly driven by creating quality products in a democratic context, suited for the modern lifestyle. This is perfect for a project like LifeX, where you are creating a simple, well furnished, beautiful apartment, while allowing – through the simplicity of the products – for the person who is moving in to create a personalised environment that feels like home.

“That is what Scandinavian design offers: furniture that is simple and neutral without being poor, which creates a solid framework for building an individual identity,” says Rolf Hay to GUEST magazine.

Lifex

Established in June 2017 in Copenhagen, LifeX offers more than 40 apartments and has 200 co-living members in Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Munich, and Vienna.

LifeX is a tech platform that connects owners of attractive apartments with prospect tenants. All apartments are appointed with HAY furnishing to reflect the simple beauty of Nordic living. LifeX makes it easy for new arrivals to handle all the practicalities of moving to a new destination. But more importantly, new residents immediately become part of a community and a local network.

LifeX currently has 20 employees and is part of the cluster of innovative tech companies supported by Founders A/S, which is owned by the William Demant Foundation, Kirkbi A/S and Anders Holck Poulsen, founder and owner of Bestseller A/S.

www.joinlifex.com

HAY

HAY is a Danish furniture and home accessories company founded in 2002 with the ambition of creating contemporary furniture with international appeal and an eye for modern living. Striving to make good design accessible to the largest possible audience, HAY is also a strong player in the contract market, supplying furnishings for major Danish hospitality players such as Comwell.

Millennial-style hospitality experiences furnished by HAY include the Nomad Workspace (a co-working space in Copenhagen) and the international Dream Hostel chain. HAY has also teamed with LifeX to provide Nordic-style interiors for their serviced co-living apartments throughout Europe. Photos: Jakob Marovt.

www.hay.dk