Courtesy of Russ Levi

Courtesy of Russ Levi

The Blueprint | 439 International Blvd., Oakland, CA 94606 |510.473.7197

On Sunday, March 15, Open Door’s newest project opened its doors to the public, planting a shared community workspace and and a tea lounge in the heart of Oakland.

Located east of Lake Merritt, The Blueprint aims to create a new community-centered space for the folks in Oakland’s neighborhoods, providing them with a hub for creativity, productivity and organic person-to-person connection. The workspace and Tea Oasis are housed in one of Open Door’s shared residential spaces, The Canopy. The upstairs floor belongs to 12 full time residents who live co-op style, while the downstairs floor is open to the entire community, offering drop-in and membership-based spaces at affordable prices.

Jay Standish, co-founder of Open Door, said The Blueprint offers the three main components of life under one roof: a place to live, a place to work and a place to connect with others.

“Sometimes when you want to hang out with friends, there aren’t good places to socialize in public, and so you’re like, let’s go to a bar and spend 10 bucks in a loud space where you can’t even hear your friends,” Standish said. “So, we were thinking, how do we find spaces that are more prone to authentic connection, invite social interaction, that are more meaningful?”

Courtesy of Russ Levi

Courtesy of Russ Levi

According to Standish, the idea of The Blueprint addition to Open Door is about sharing knowledge with other community members and being part of the neighborhood. In addition to being a space where community members can come and enjoy unlimited amounts of tea, the Tea Oasis will also play host to small events that are meant to unite The Blueprint’s members, like group meditation or acoustic music nights.

Ilana Lipsett, a freelance consultant working with The Blueprint, said that in her experience, urban environments often lack the kind of mixed-use spaces Open Door provides. Open Door is taking advantage of this by introducing The Blueprint as its first community-centered residential/commercial space.

“I think in general, the more community gathering spaces you have in an area the better,” Lipsett said. “[The Blueprint] is a good space that’s beneficial for increasing conversation among neighbors and strangers.”

Courtesy of Russ Levi

Courtesy of Russ Levi

A group of 12-to-15 founding members are responsible for The Blueprint’s inception, aiming for a space that aligns with the current “project-based economy” rather than a run-of-the-mill 9-to-5 job. Founding member Colin Blattel also believes that what The Blueprint provides speaks to the “heart and soul” of how millennials in particular are conducting themselves in the job world.

“People who are under 40, we stopped going to churches and started going to coffee houses, but coffee shops are a little isolated,” Blattel said. “I think something like this that has coworking as well as the event and resource sharing component on top of it… I’m going to show up, get my work done and get my income, but it will also be centered around creative, meaningful relationships that nourish me as a person.”

RussLeviPhotography_Tea0006

Courtesy of Russ Levi

Ready to drop in to check out The Blueprint? Here’s what you can expect as far as pricing:

General Membership details

Monthly membership (includes membership at Tea Oasis) – $320
Tea Oasis Monthly Membership – $36
Daily drop-in fee without membership – $8 for the Tea Oasis, $15 for the workspace

Event Rental details

Coworking space – $120, sliding scale options available for certain community events
Tea Oasis – $100
Both coworking and Tea Oasis spaces: $150

To see more of Russ Levi’s photography, please visit his webpage. To see his photos of The Blueprint’s opening, click here.

About The Author

Natalie Meier is currently writing about issues in public health, tech and small business innovation as a freelance contributor for Oakland Local. Meier is a senior at Mills College studying English and Journalism and is also cross-registered at UC Berkeley. She currently interns for ABC7 News in San Francisco and has written for The Daily Californian, Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), StuVoice, and KALW.

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