Continuing our coverage of the recent explosion of tech company headquarters in San Francisco, here's a look inside the offices of online property rental service Airbnb, which feature rooms modelled on eight of the company's listed apartments (+ slideshow).
Airbnb currently offers rental accommodation in over 34,000
countries cities, but the company's first ever listing was a San Francisco apartment, so the team's in-house designers decided to transform one section of the interior into an exact replica of it.
They sourced items from various countries to furnish the spaces and even installed a bed in one of the rooms.
Other sections of the headquarters mimic properties from various other places around the world, including Reykjavík, Bali, Amsterdam and Paris, and are filled with casual seating areas where staff can interact.
"We asked ourselves, how can we create the sense of travel in an office?" explained Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky. "Simply having photos of listings and far off places was not enough. It is not just about recalling the memories, but about feeling that you're there."
The offices occupy part of a renovated 100-year-old industrial building, named 888 Brannan.
The office canteen features long communal tables where staff can hold informal meetings, while the walls are covered in over a hundred sketches relating to different employee experiences.
"We wanted to create a space that encourages our employees to move around, interact across disciplines, and see movement and activity," said Chesky.
There's also a conference suite modelled on the War Room in the Stanley Kubrick film Dr. Strangelove, as well as a green wall that extends up one side of the main atrium.
Here's the full design statement from Brian Chesky:
The opening of 888 Brannan is an exciting moment for Airbnb because the building embodies what we value as a company: creativity, community engagement, and thoughtful design.
Joe, Nate and I started Airbnb when we saw the potential in something others had overlooked – the spare space in our apartment. In the same way, we saw massive potential in 888 Brannan. The building is a hundred‐year‐old city landmark that had been practically forgotten about, but we saw the opportunity to turn it into the perfect space for our growing company and community.
The first time we stepped into the atrium, we imagined looking up and seeing a cross section of the very homes that are featured on our site – immediately knowing, without seeing any logos or signs, that you were at Airbnb. We invested a lot into the space, learning about its history, and transformed it from a non-descript building into a physical representation of who we are and what we believe.
At the core of Airbnb is the connection between people and spaces. In designing 888 Brannan, we asked ourselves how we could use the space to encourage connections between people. All too often, office design doesn't consider collaboration, creativity or spontaneity. At Airbnb, we wanted to create a space that encourages our employees to move around, interact across disciplines, and see movement and activity.
To achieve this, we wanted as many lines of sight as possible, both inside the building and to the neighbourhood outside. Not only is this visually interesting, but we believe it inherently creates connections. We also created spaces for these connections to develop. In an open floor plan, you typically have two types of spaces: desks and meeting rooms. We focused on creating a third shared space as well. Sofas scattered amongst the desks, the communal dining area, and project rooms with long standing tables all provide an opportunity for our employees to have casual conversations, spontaneous collaborations, or informal meetings.
Another key focus for our new home was to create a truly comfortable place for our employees, whose hard work is fundamental to everything we do. We believe investing in them is the foundation of our success. A lot of companies under‐invest in their office space, and therefore under‐invest in their employees and their growth. We believe that if our team is working in an inspirational and creative space, they will be inspired to create a better product and service for our hosts and guests.
One exceptional aspect of the new space is the ability to experience travel without leaving the building. We asked ourselves, "how can we create the sense of travel in an office?" Simply having photos of listings and far off places was not enough. It is not just about recalling the memories, but about feeling that you're there. We replicated some of the most unique places on Airbnb to create this feeling. Each room, from Milan to Reykjavik, Bali to Amsterdam, not only celebrates our global community, but also lets everyone who visits them truly experience a different place.
In designing Airbnb's new home, we wanted to create a place that would bring our mission to life, a place where people could instantly see what is at the heart of our company. At 888 Brannan, we are creating a space not just for our employees, but for our hosts and travellers, our neighbours and friends. Airbnb is creating a world where you can be at home everywhere, and everyone can be at home at Airbnb.