Airbnb’s website allows travellers to rent private rooms all around the world – a combination of tech and global tourism that is mirrored in the interior of its Dublin office. Heneghan Peng organized the open-concept floor plan around two rows of meeting rooms in the form of cubic “pods” made from OSB, and inspired by shipping crates that bring in elements of other cities. The names and decor are based on Airbnb’s listings: the Mexico City room, for example, features cacti and terracotta tile flooring, while the Austin room is furnished in eclectic contemporary pieces, including an Arco floor lamp and Zuo Physics chandelier.
Each pod is fully glazed on the two sides that face its neighbouring pods, allowing for unbroken sight lines the full length of each row, to better light the pod interiors and create a much more open feel throughout.
A central meeting room, inspired by an Amsterdam apartment, can be split in two, with one side pivoted away to form a second discrete meeting space. When together, the space comfortably offers seating for over a dozen people, and when separated, curtains can be pulled across the openings for visual privacy.
Other touches speak of culture closer to home: the reception desk is modeled on a traditional Irish pub, with a horseshoe-shaped bar, wooden stools and a seating area featuring a pressed-tin ceiling. At the entrance, visitors are greeted by two old-school phone booths painted green and celery.
At one windowless end of the office, an amphitheatre-like “hill” rises above the pods. “The view typically associated with windows was transformed into a panoramic view from a mountaintop,” according to the designers. The hill can accommodate up to 100 sitters for large presentations, and the space underneath offers ample storage for the entire office.
The most unusual addition is likely the double-width seating running through the centre of the open desking area. Heneghan Peng conceived the long plywood benches for the 2012 Biennale of Architecture; interpreting the theme of “shifting ground,” they developed benches that pivot like teeter-totters depending on where people sit, creating a landscape of dips and peaks that responds to and encourages different groupings.
“Our goal was incorporating the informal but simultaneously respecting the formal space of concentration and everything in between,” according to the design team. “The challenge was to allow the two to exist in harmony.”