Dezeen Magazine

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia designs modular office furniture

Joe Gebbia, who co-founded home rental website Airbnb, has designed a range of adaptable, modular office furniture for American brand Bernhardt Design.

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

The Neighbourhood series includes modular sofas, connected tables and stools designed for open-plan offices, and was launched at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York earlier this week.

Gebbia – who originally trained as a designer – created the collection with Bernhardt Design creative director Jerry Helling in response to experiences in his Airbnb offices.

During this time, he saw the necessity for office furniture to be easily adapted to quick-growing and changing teams in modern working environments.

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

"This is a direct inspiration from our nine years, moving offices, expanding offices, dealing with outdated furniture systems," Gebbia told Dezeen.

"We're constantly changing, every six months every year the company's at a different size," he continued. "What we need is a physical environment that could change as quickly as our company."

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

Neighbourhood features 38 mobile modules, making it is the largest collection created for Bernhardt Design.

Seating modules can be easily rearranged into a variety of layouts, from wavy pews to intimate circular shapes.

Low back seats provide refuge for casual meetings or creative thinking, while the taller backs offer more privacy in open-plan offices.

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

"It was important to me that you could have those moments of high back," Gebbia said, "those moments of privacy, of intimacy, of shelter, of protection, amidst a very open exposed space."

The high backs of the seats also take cues from the Savanna preference, a design principle that states humans are genetically programmed to prefer environments like the vast grassy savannah landscapes where trees provide shelter.

Felt-wool covering the seats is intended to absorb sound in noisy offices. It is detailed at the edges with zigzag stitching.

Neighbourhood by Joe Gebbia

Gebbia graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) with a dual degree in Graphic and Industrial Design, before co-founding Airbnb with fellow design graduate Brian Chesky in 2008

Last year, Airbnb launched an in-house design studio its own design studio called Samira, which will focus on projects including architecture, service design and software engineering.

ICFF took place from 21 to 24 May 2017 at the Jacob K Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side, during this year's NYCxDesign festival.