Carlo Ratti Co-Launches Real Estate Firm Focused on the Future of Workplace

Newly-established real estate investment firm IQON, founded by industry veteran Giovanni Gregoratti and MIT professor Carlo Ratti, has finalized its first deal with the acquisition of Vodafone’s global headquarters in the UK. IQON aims to match design, finance, and sustainability to shape the office of the future – one that can meet the challenges of changing work habits, technological advancements, and the climate crisis.

IQON Capital, a newly-founded real estate firm, has finalized its first deal with the acquisition of Vodafone’s global headquarters in the UK. The office complex will be transformed into a business and innovation campus. IQON was founded by two partners: real estate investment veteran Giovanni Gregoratti, former head of real estate investment banking at Citigroup in EMEA, and Carlo Ratti, a designer and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Based in London, UK, IQON is an innovative real estate company that puts design, technology, and sustainability at the core of the investment process. The company proposes an alternative to most traditional firms in the industry, driven by today’s changing working habits and environmental challenges. IQON aims to be a leading force in the evolution of the office in the post-Covid world.

Global lockdowns have shown that the Internet alone is not an adequate replacement for the physical workplace in sustaining dense and diverse human networks. Research by organizations such as Microsoft and MIT points out that remote work, if implemented exclusively, can threaten the vibrancy of our social networks. While office occupancy rates have fallen over the past couple of years, new opportunities arise to reimagine the workplace, making it more conducive to interaction and sociability. Against this backdrop, IQON pledges to create mixed-use workplaces that foster interpersonal connections among co-workers, facilitate the flow of innovative ideas, and reach carbon neutrality goals.

“Incentives for architecture and capital are often misaligned. This is why we decided to launch IQON as a joint venture linking the worlds of design and finance, in order to improve the sustainability of today’s office stock,” comments Carlo Ratti: “It is crucial that design expands its focus and joins forces with professionals from different fields. When we talk about urban transformations, we cannot ignore the powerful role of finance. With IQON we want to leverage it to realize designers’ goals of creating a better world.”

Giovanni Gregoratti added: “The vast majority of existing offices in Europe are at high risk of obsolescence and do not meet the sustainability standards required by tenants, investors and lawmakers. With this backdrop, IQON’s unique combination of design, innovation and investment expertise is a key driver of investment value creation and represents a competitive edge over traditional investment firms which are not prepared for the structural shift that the market is experiencing.”