Wednesday 07 Jan 2015
Airbnb have recently opened their newest office in Portland, conceptualised, designed and implemented by their internal team, including environmental designers Aaron Taylor Harvey and Rachael Yu of Myriad Harbor, as well as 50 members of Portland's Customer Experience team.
Harvey and Yu, lead designers for the project, spent about a month in research for the space. This included 1:1 field trips into the city with members of the Portland office, getting to know the team better and also getting a sense of what makes the area so unique. They also held breakthrough meetings with the office to discover people's ideal working environments.
Every listing room was decided by the Portland employees, and ‘scratch' rooms, including a room inspired by a beehive and another inspired by a ship, were completely implemented by staff. Many team members actually made items used in the office such as tables, chandeliers and pieces of art and one team member, Jason, was even promoted to Project Manager of his Customer Service team after managing the work on the scratch rooms.
The new office leaves behind the idea of personal desks, focusing instead on high contrast spaces for all types of working styles: standing, sitting in a lounge or positioned at a traditional desk. There are spaces for people who like to work in a bright office and also spaces for those who prefer the dark. The light areas include light felt, wood and fabric, with all objects angled towards the windows. In the dark space, darker felt, wood and fabrics have been utilised.
Landing spots are a Swiss army knife solution for this Airbnb workspace. Here personal belongings can be kept and laptops charged and locked overnight. The spots can be used as standing desks and are grouped by team so can also become meeting areas. Above the landing spots are ‘team mantles' which are places for personal expression. Some teams have plants or photos here, some have even created artwork specifically for the space.
The team worked with local businesses like Goodmod, who made the communal tables and refurbished the mid-century modern furniture around the office, which includes authentic vintage Eames chairs. Superfab fabricated the landing zones and Phloem provided much of the office furniture, allowing Airbnb to invest in the local community.
Airbnb's mission is to create a world where you can belong anywhere, a statement which has been infused in Portland's office space. Employees can belong everywhere as the majority of the space is open to everyone. No space is off limits and each area caters to every working type, concluding with the landing spots to really give people a place to call their own.