Williamsburg’s new office space for freelancers

Williamsburg’s new office space for freelancers
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Williamsburg’s freelancers have a new place to conduct business — and it’s not their living room

Neighborhood graphic designers, animators, and video producers are discovering Bitmap, an office space on Graham Avenue that opened last month for independent workers.

Bitmap’s Aaron Ray-Crichton, a computer animator; Audrey Molinare, an artist; and Nick Robalik, a graphic designer, launched the business after they noticed many of their colleagues in Williamsburg’s burgeoning technology and design industries were traveling to the city for work.

They also noticed that existing collaborative work spaces in Williamsburg, such as 3rd Ward and Brooklyn Fireproof, were geared more toward fine art and visual art.

Instead, they’re hoping to attract workers who are in computer-centric fields or working on motion graphics, commercials and video.

“We have great facilities and the best high-speed Internet connection in Brooklyn,” said Robalik.

The brick storefront, a former radiology lab, was empty for several years before the group rented it — there was even a broken-down MRI machine in the back room.

After city workers removed the machine and cleared the space of hazards, Ray-Crichton installed new wiring, servers and computers while Robalik and Molinare designed the conference room and outfitted the space with cubicles and furniture.

The pristine space features exposed brick walls, plenty of natural light, and the quiet, reassuring hum of half a dozen servers — known as the “render farm” — powerfully shoving information across cyberspace.

The servers and the speed of the Internet — the office is located right next to a neighborhood fiber-optic hub — are the main selling point.

“For people who do computer-intensive art stuff, you can send off a job for your computer to chew on, while the computers are taking care of heavy lifting,” said Ray-Crichton. “You don’t have to wait around for three hours. You can wait for 10 minutes.”

Customers can rent desk space with a basic membership at $385 per month or $50 per day — and the fee includes use of a free high-volume color laser printer, conference room, video and camera kits, Blue Bottle coffee and all the Internet you can drink in.

Right now, clients must bring their own computers, but there will be rentable stations in the future for motion-graphic and video editing.

Just don’t try to sleep over — though you might be tempted.

Aaron Ray-Crichton points to Bitmap’s deck of servers known as “The Farm.”
Community Newspaper Group / Aaron Short

Bitmap [300 Graham Ave. at Ainslie Street in Williamsburg, (718) 963-0351]. For info, www.bitmapnyc.com.