Categories ArchitecturePosted on

Airbnb’s London HQ: Belong Anywhere

Airbnb’s Clerkenwell Offices combine the typical components of historic British settlements: the farm, the green, the market, the library, and the terrace with a distillation of those concepts, resulting in a microcosm of the community at large. As an idea, that’s irresistible but how does it work in practice?

The Airbnb workspace is a community of different spaces with no fixed desks. Employees have an individual locker for their own belongings. There are standing workstations, which, combined with the storage lockers provide a variety of options for the working day: what you are working on, who with or even how you feel ultimately giving you the opportunity to move around during your day.

It sounds complex but the intention is to use a simple palette of economic materials that are responsive to the needs of whoever is there. AV, data, power, lighting and acoustic criteria have been carefully considered.

The resulting workspace is open, airy and devoid of the traditional ‘territories’ that usually make up offices.

The farmhouse kitchen:
Conceived as the heart of the home, the social hub of the office, a sociable and welcoming area and informal workspace for both staff and guests.

Manifested physically as a pared back contemporary interpretation of a farmhouse kitchen with a very large communal table, open kitchen area and snug seating zones, made from valcromat and CNC cut plywood with a geometric rubber flooring, giving a contemporary take on traditional Victorian tiles.

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The library:

A quiet area for individual focused working or private tasks, surrounded by a series of individual duck-ins/seating booths for private calls or video conferencing.
A series of soaring plywood fins externally rise to echo the vaulted roof of the existing space forming felt lined booths. Internally the space is calm and contained with linear work benches, book shelves and wall lights.

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The green:

A central open and flexible space with multiple focus points, a multilevel landscape that provides for a number of uses from individual and group working, to an ‘all hands’ conference with other offices.

A series of faceted plywood boxes topped with carpet have been assembled to form an undulating surface that rises and falls in relation to the trusses above with formica clad task tables in the centre and around the perimeter.

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The pavilion:

Sitting on the edge of the green, the Pavilion is the largest private meeting area in the office. A generous vaulted space that is acoustically isolated for video conferencing, yet with views out through large glazed panels on 3 sides. The pavilion also serves to create a more sheltered and private space for the Tea Room behind it; a tea point which can be shut off further from the main space by plywood panels that fold out from the pavilion.

The pavilion is clad with plywood externally to tie in with the other freestanding structures and then acoustically isolated and lined internally. The tea room utilises the same floor and wall finishes as the farmhouse kitchen.

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This bold and innovative space was designed by the Airbnb in-house environments team Myriad Harbor, an architecture studio founded by Rachel Yu and Aaron Taylor Harvey. They work alongside Threefold, an architectural firm that specialises in creating environments that benefit the people working in it and that delight experientially. They are Matthew Driscoll, Jack Hosea and Renée Searle, who brings an expert knowledge of sustainable construction technologies. The trio has experience of large-scale housing, education, cultural and arts projects.

www.threefoldarchitects.com

Airbnb’s Clerkenwell HQ
Compton Courtyard
40 Compton Street
Lonodn
EC1V 0BD

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