By Elisha Pappacoda
Magicians and environmental activists are working side by side in an office that's open 24/7 right in the heart of downtown Orlando.
CoLab is a space for young professionals who don't have an office of their own.
"It's very popular for creatives, as well as entrepreneurs," said Brian T. Wilson, co-lab's new community director, "We have developers that work here."
Wilson said the draw is more than the just comfy leather couches, bean bag chairs and modern design.
"We have the energy kind of like a coffee shop where people are able to reach across the room and talk to someone or almost like a bar you'd be able to network and talk to people."
It's that very setup that appeals to Sierra Club organizer Macy Zander.
"I'm actually the only staffer in all of Central Florida so I think it's really nice to have the collaborative aspects CoLab," said Zander.
Think of it like a work commune.
"It's kind of like having a bunch of colleagues that work for different businesses but we all come together and get to hang out," she added.
And while Zander has her own private office space, there are common areas and conference rooms for so-called co-working. Pro-ponents of the trend say it's all about opportunity. For example, Zander met a film professional at CoLab who is considering doing a short film on the Sierra Club's clean water campaign.
"What makes us unique is that we are downtown Orlando so it's a great opportunity for people to network as well as work," said Wilson.
Magician Kostya Kimlat feeds off the energy of having office space downtown, as well as his neighboring entrepreneurs at CoLab.
"One of the most important things when you're running a business is to have your space when you're working but also have variety and have things that are happening around you that get you thinking different ways," he said.
Workers can drop in and rent office space for $15 a day. And the coffee and wi-fi are free.