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Nisha van der Hoven

Designing Collaborative Spaces

Nisha van der Hoven, architect and founder of Hoven, believes that workspaces can, and must, be designed for collaboration.

Nisha van der Hoven is a senior architect and founder of Hoven, a Johannesburg-based design practice. Before setting out on her entrepreneurial journey, Nisha worked at Boogertman & Partners Architects for 12 years. Her experience in the design of collective, shared spaces led to her current role as a consultant and creative director for Workshop17, a shared-workspace provider with locations across South Africa and Mauritius.

In addition to designing spaces where people can deliver their best, Nisha remains involved with academia. She curated an exhibition to mark the start of the Wits academic year in 2020.


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About This Recipe


Architects can appear to be out of touch with the brick-and-mortar world, concerned as they are with beautiful forms and colour and light. Nisha van der Hoven, founder of the Hoven design practice, is not one of those. She is, instead, a passionate advocate for spaces in which people feel at home and have contributed to, and in which they have enough choice and flexibility to collaborate for success.

In this recipe she shares the characteristics of a successful shared-working space, the importance of light, natural vegetation and acoustics in an office environment, and practical tips on how to carve out a working space at home.

Nisha also discusses how workplace design can contribute to productivity, and names the humble chair as the single most important ergonomic element.

What You'll Learn


In this recipe you will learn:

  • How to look at constraints as fuel for creativity.
  • What to consider when you choose a workspace.
  • How workplace design can help or hamper productivity.
  • Why you should pay serious attention to the chair behind your desk.
  • Which ergonomic factors to consider when setting up your office space.
  • How the shared-workspace model differs from traditional offices.
  • How to make a working environment more people friendly.


Learn from someone who speaks from a position of real authority, perspective and experience.


Implement practical tips and techniques learned in the trenches - doing, rather than talking.


Join a cohort of like-minded entrepreneurs in our growing community and share your learnings as you go.

Get Learning

This entrepreneurial micro-course will take you only a few minutes per day (or you can binge if you want to). Feel free to skip around and please let us know what you think. 

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Deep Cuts 

Love this recipe? Here are some additional videos to delve even further into the topic.


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