Welcome to the office of your travel dreams, where wanderlust meets whimsy.
Cosy and colourful nooks, sunlit spaces channelling exotic locations and a fun, collaborative vibe are the hallmarks of Airbnb’s new Sydney headquarters revealed this week.
A “secret” door behind a bookshelf leads to the Cuba room. Photo: James Horan
The accommodation booking website has developed a global reputation for its directional offices but this playful design is a big step away from the usual industrial vibe of high-tech workplaces.
Last year, Airbnb knocked Google out of top spot on the list of the best places to work, according to rankings by US career website Glassdoor based on employee feedback.
Employees can move around and work where they like. Photo: James Horan
The new Surry Hills digs aim to evoke an air of hospitality and hominess, using actual properties listed on Airbnb as inspiration for the fit-out by Sydney design company The Bold Collective.
The staff at Airbnb now have a virtual world in their office thanks to the quirky and imaginative results.
The office is designed to make people feel like they’re travelling. Photo: James Horan
“Our new Sydney office captures what we value as a company: creativity, travel, and thoughtful design,” says Airbnb Australia country manager Sam McDonagh.
“At the core of Airbnb is the connection between people and spaces, and we have created a unique layout that inspires our employees to move around and work from where ever they want.”
A quirky take on a football oval outside the lift doors. Photo: James Horan
As a starting point, The Bold Collective asked Airbnb’s Sydney team which real-life listings they wanted to set the tone for their meeting rooms.
Australia’s beach and sport culture were also a strong inspiration, with a kitchen based on Sydney’s Coogee Pavilion, a scaled-down AFL pitch and mardi gras-themed shower rooms lending the offices an undeniably Australian touch of whimsy.
Airbnb has partnerships with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and AFL team the Sydney Swans.
Spaces were modelled on real-life locations such as Sydney’s Coogee Pavilion. Photo: James Horan
Mr McDonagh says design is embedded deeply in Airbnb’s culture.
“Two of our co-founders are designers, and an appreciation of the power of design is in everything we do. This is reflected in the unique layout of all of Airbnb’s global offices,” he says.
Corrugated iron in the Kangaroo Valley room is from an old Darlinghurst house laundry. Photo: James Horan
“At Airbnb we want to create the sense of travel when we welcome people into our office.
“Simply having photos of listings and far off places is not enough, we want our employees and guests to experience the feeling you get when you travel.”
A Mardi Gras-themed shower room. Photo: James Horan
Mr McDonagh says the company moved into the new offices in December after outgrowing its previous Sydney digs in Ultimo.
“We were bursting at the seams of our old office, and this new space in Surry Hills inspires hosting and homeliness,” he says.
Airbnb was founded in 2008 and is now available in 34,000 cities in 191 countries.
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Wood panelling is made of fence posts salvaged from a Federation house in Vaucluse, Sydney. Photo: James Horan
Behind the secure entrance, Airbnb’s new office space is all open plan. Photo: James Horan
Design company The Bold Collective wanted to capture the imagination. Photo: James Horan
“We want our employees and guests to experience the feeling you get when you travel.” Photo: James Horan
The men’s bathroom is designed to look like a gentlemen’s club and whisky bar. Photo: James Horan
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