Airbnb expands from renting into designing houses

by | Sep 28, 2019 | General News

Will Airbnb soon design your neighbourhood? (Image: Samara/Backyard)

Airbnb’s in-house design team Samara is designing community centres and houses.

Home-sharing platform Airbnb is moving beyond the confines of just renting properties to pioneering their design as well.

We take a look inside Airbnb’s in-house design studio and their innovative design initiative.

Airbnb seeks to corner more of housing market

The future is limitless when it comes to Airbnb’s housing offering. No longer satisfied with providing existing houses for its guests to rent, the home-sharing giant is now venturing into the world of architecture and construction with the intention to also design the houses its offers.

Airbnb’s in-house design arm Samara has created the Backyard initiative, which launched in 2016 to explore the possibilities of housing design within the company itself.

Considering Airbnb’s hand in changing the way people live, they are taking this idea even further and trying singlehandedly to create new ways of living.

“With Backyard, we’re using the same lens through which Airbnb was envisioned – the potential of space – and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction,” said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia.

From domestic architecture to urban design

Through Backyard, Samara, Airbnb’s dedicated design arm, has been experimenting with lots of different housing typologies, scenarios and organisations.

Samara has recruited some notable architecture and design minds as part of its team, including MIT architecture professor William O’Brien Jr. and former Apple designer Miklu Silvanto.

So far, the team has created a prototype for a Japanese communal housing project, which, if successful, could potentially be rolled out in other destinations to revive under-utilised land, effectively putting Airbnb in the realm of urban planning.

O’Brien Jr. spoke of the project and Samara, saying, “In architecture today, there is a range of agendas that span from those propelled by an interest in the role of technology in the future of building to those committed to the appropriation of forms of the past.”

“Backyard is such an interesting hybrid because it gives these perspectives equal footing, relying on lessons learned from history while filtering them through the lens of technology. Learning that architectural design is valued so much at Samara was a sign that something special is happening here. We’re at the beginning of something new. I’m thrilled.” he concluded.


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