The city of Gurgaon, India, recently became home to the latest innovative Airbnb offices thanks to the expertise of design and architectural firm Space Matrix.
In collaboration with Airbnb’s own Environments Team, this design crew aimed to create a genuinely unique office space that perfectly blends urban and industrial chic qualities with lively cultures and exciting, socio-cultural experiences. This was achieved by transforming an old commercial warehouse into a completely made over, very colourful, and thoroughly teamwork friendly productivity space!
Despite the desire to maintain the industrial chic look that was already built into the space thanks to the purchase of the warehouse, designers also wanted to incorporate the company’s primary values and philosophies into the look and running of the office. Of course, Airbnb’s core identity and brand revolves around the concept of being able to “belong anywhere”, so this idea ran like a backbone through the conceptualization of all other design facets.
Working in partnership with the idea of belonging anywhere was the idea that the brand itself is global, rather than specifically localized. Basically, Airbnb wanted the office to be in line with high international design standards and to incorporate some subtle or neutral schemes so that some areas boast minimal or clean finishes. The overall effect was a rather unique looking functional workspace that reflects the brand experience well.
The biggest challenge that designers faced in all of this was to keep the brand’s level of sophistication and the free-flow design they envisioned while also making sure the space speaks the same language as other Airbnb offices across the globe. In order to make sure this particular place stands out, however, they made sure to incorporate elements of much more localized culture, creating a sort of blended aesthetic and atmosphere that appears global but specialized.
Space Matrix sought to fill the Airbnb offices with an unparalleled number of co-working spaces within their free-flow structure, as this has proven effective in offices in other locations. They continued the Airbnb tradition of building themed meeting rooms that are modelled after some of the company’s more prominent listings. These let staff and clients work together while also providing those in the room with an experiential, design-oriented taste of what they’re offering around the world.
Because India is so rich with diverse culture, it was important to everyone on the team that this be explicit in some parts of the design. This is visible in some of the hand-painted artworks, ornate mixing of patterns, handmade ceramic tiles, and hand-painted local motifs, all created by markers from the directly surrounding area.
Of course, work and productivity are important in any office, but Airbnb also highly prioritizes interaction and a sense of community between employees. Space Matrix achieved this through open social and workspaces, exciting “bonus features” like a Chai bar, and various caves and duck-ins that are inherently multi-purpose and very welcoming.
As the blend of aesthetics wasn’t already unique enough, design teams also ensured that bamboo has a heavy presence in the space, using it as cladding on the walls and bulkhead. This creates a sort of outside-in effect while maintaining the international sophistication all sides of the crew were aiming for overall.
Photographs by Khoo Guo Jie at Studio Periphery