The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

Threefold Architects completes Airbnb's latest London office

A 15th-century painting of a studious priest became Threefold Architects' point of reference for the design of Airbnb's latest office, located in central London.

The office – named The Stoa & The Fora – takes over the entire floor of a building in Clerkenwell.

It's the third workspace that Threefold Architects has created in London for Airbnb, in collaboration with the company's San Francisco-based environments team which is headed up by Aaron Taylor-Harvey.

Instead of rolling out the same aesthetic across each branch, the practice decided to base the interior scheme of the latest office on feedback accrued from staff members.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

"Fairly soon after the completion of the original spaces, we undertook a survey-based usage study," the practice's director, Matthew Driscoll, told Dezeen.

"Then later, a digital occupancy analysis was commissioned to record how and when the various task points, meeting areas and social spaces were being used, which enabled us to understand which type of spaces had been successful," he continued.

"Furthermore, an extensive staff survey was undertaken to establish what each member of the team felt was their key priority for the new space in addition to providing us with a wish list," said Driscoll.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

The resulting office is anchored by a covered walkway – also known as a stoa – that's crafted from fluted panels of Douglas fir, and punctuated by a series of arched doorways.

It takes direct reference from a 15th-century painting titled St Jerome In His Study by Italian artist Antonella de Messina. In the artwork, a grandiose church archway frames the scene of a priest reading at a desk, surrounded by books and worldly ornaments.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

"We enjoy finding inspiration in unusual places, I saw this painting on a visit to the National Gallery at the time we were working up the initial ideas for the project," explained Driscoll.

"The protagonist's study is depicted [in the painting] not as an enclosed room, but as a piece of joinery within a host space – it reads as a room within a room, as both architecture and furniture," he continued.

"This felt quite pertinent to the kind of spaces for working which we were aiming to create."

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

Lockers and grey seating-banquettes have been incorporated into the rear wall of the undulating walkway, while planks of wood have been erected between the front, column-like elements to form standing-up desks for staff. A row of spherical lamps also run through its centre.

The entire structure backs onto the office's core block, which accommodates a kitchen, meeting rooms, and a handful of private booths where individual workers can escape to work alone.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

The remaining three sides of the office floor plan have been arranged to evoke the same atmosphere as fora – public squares or marketplaces where communities could openly gather in Ancient Roman cities.

Partition walls have been traded for small groupings of furnishings, ranging from long, communal desks to more relaxed sofas and armchairs.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

Extra storage and workstations have been incorporated into the forest-green and sage-coloured joinery that lines the office's walls. Break-out areas with stepped seating have also been built into the room's corners, where music is played and staff can chat.

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects

Earlier this year also saw Threefold Architects complete a London office for property developers Pocket Living. The workspace features by a 40-metre long "inhabited wall" that incorporates shelving and seating pods.

Photography is by Donal Murphy.

More images and plans

The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
Floor plan
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
Diagram
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects
The Stoa & The Fora, Airbnb offices designed by Threefold Architects